Let’s talks volunteering! This month, from Thursday 1st to Wednesday 7th June, we’ve given a spotlight to our incredible Crisis volunteers as we celebrate Volunteers’ Week 2023; but what’s it all about?
What is Volunteers’ Week?
Volunteers’ Week celebrates all the amazing ways our volunteers across the UK support their communities. We wouldn’t be where we are today without the year-round dedication of our volunteers. As an organisation, the week gives us a chance to really reflect, celebrate and acknowledge what has been made possible through their hard work and generosity. that
Volunteers’ Week also gives us an opportunity to give a shout out specifically to our corporate volunteering, and how it impacts Crisis as a whole.
How do our Corporate Partners volunteer with us?
Corporate volunteering at Crisis takes on many forms, with partners taking up a range of tasks across the charity. They bring their expertise and enthusiasm to our year-round exclusive corporate team days including but not limited to:
Changing Lives Panel: For over 20 years Crisis has been giving out 'Changing Lives Grants' to people experiencing homelessness to help them achieve their educational and career goals through accessing further education, qualifications and employment or the opportunity to start their own business. The Changing Lives Grants are managed by Venture Studio from Crisis, Crisis Enterprise arm which invests in businesses offering innovative and new solutions to ending homelessness. The aim of the Changing Lives Grant is to increase the recipients opportunities access to skills, and opportunities to work.
Each year up to 50 Crisis members (the people supported by our Skylight teams) benefit from grants of up to £5,000 depending on their progression goals. There are four different categories of grants:
- Education: supports members to take up courses or training that leads to a recognised qualification work
- Entrepreneurship: supports those aiming to be self-employed through developing a business idea
- Employment: for members who need specific tools to take up employment
- Fast Track: for members need to access training, licences or require items to secure time-sensitive employment opportunities
This is where our corporate volunteers come in - each application is assessed by a panel of expert volunteers from across different industries and Crisis staff, to share insights which help the Changing Lives team decide which applicants receive a grant. Since the grant programme launched in 2002, over 3,000 individuals have been supported to leave homelessness behind for good.
Crisis shops and warehouse: Our Crisis shops sell great quality clothing, accessories, books, vinyl and homeware donated from the community along with furniture, restored by Crisis members accessing our services. In selected venues we also have a coffee bar selling serving drinks, including Crisis coffee.
Our shops are vital to Crisis’ work and as well as providing income, they also extend the reach of the Crisis brand which directly supports our political and fundraising campaigns against homelessness. Most importantly, they provide opportunities for people experiencing homelessness to gain work experience in various aspects of retail, build self-confidence and be active in the community in which they live. Across our London stores corporate volunteers play a key role in supporting our shops team in their daily chores through exclusive team days.
Our friends at PwC taking over our Brick Lane shop for the month of May
Jill, our Crisis shops Area Manager explains “The retail shops truly depend on the generosity from their local community and corporate partnerships to support their volunteering needs. Simply without this essential support our shops would not be able to fully operate day to day and generate key funds to support our mission to end homelessness.
The shops have been so thankful for all the corporate support over the last financial year. The team enjoy getting to meet different people, to share their knowledge and experience within our retail operations and promote the amazing work we do to support our members and communities.”
Since January 2023, we’re proud to have logged over 800 hours of corporate volunteering with the amazing help of our partners. Volunteers from our partners at PwC also clocked in an amazing 176 hours taking over support for our Brick Lane store for the whole month of May – a brilliant result.
Are you interested in partnering with Crisis and seeing what volunteering can do for your team? Contact Corporatepartnerships@crisis.org.uk.