All BEIS staff get 3 Special Leave Days every year to volunteer. Our Permanent Secretary Alex Chisholm has said he wants volunteering to be a “feature of BEIS” and staff are encouraged to use their days in whatever way suits them and their team – all together, a day at a time, or even a few hours at a time over the course of any twelve month period.
Why should I volunteer?
Volunteering expands horizons, builds confidence and studies have shown volunteering helps combat stress, anxiety and depression. Head of the Civil Service Jeremy Haywood has said: “It’s proven that people who volunteer also have higher levels of life satisfaction than those who don’t.”
Volunteering is a terrific way to give something back to the community, as well as providing an opportunity to build new skills (for example, coaching and mentoring) and get a better understanding of the public we serve – crucial if we are to fulfil our vision of an economy that works for everyone.
What kind of volunteering can I do?
There is huge variety of volunteering opportunities in the Westminster/Whitehall area and beyond, depending on your interest. Do you like being outdoors? Why not volunteer with the National Trust, or you could help with vital maintenance work in parks and cemeteries around London. Alternatively you might enjoy rolling up your sleeves and getting stuck in organising stock rooms at one of the many food banks or help fixing up second-hand bikes for asylum-seeking refugees.
If you prefer chatting and making new friends, try one of the many social clubs for the elderly and isolated in our local community – you have your pick of lunches, breakfasts, dances, crafts, film clubs, and more bespoke projects such as teaching widowed men to cook.
If you think you’d like to use the skills you’ve built up in work, why not teach homeless people how to use computers, help prepare the unemployed for interviews, mentor vulnerable teenagers, run CV prep sessions or join the Appropriate Adult scheme for people in custody – there are so many ways our employment skills can be put to use.
How do I find the best volunteering opportunity for me?
The Volunteering Network works with two organisations that help individuals and teams find suitable volunteering opportunities: Time and Talents and Benefacto.
Benefacto organise volunteering opportunities with small, community focused charities in London. Opportunities include helping at homeless shelters, food banks, community green spaces and employment centres.
Time and Talents work with employers like BEIS and charities to set up volunteering projects, with a focus on skills sharing and sustainable relationships. Time and Talents can help to match both teams and individuals to local opportunities – in particular they have a range of opportunities for teams of all sizes and individuals looking for more long term volunteering opportunities e.g. mentoring schemes.
If you would like to know more about volunteering at BEIS, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.