giving an hour

Blog Post: Giving

As part of our social business plan, we volunteer through a range of schemes such as “Inspiring the Future” and “Give an Hour”. Through these, I’ve been to a number of local schools to help students prepare for the world of work. This has included conducting workshops, talks, mock interviews and mentoring sessions.

The latest scheme was at the fantastic Daventry Hill, a SEND school with wonderful facilities, staff and students. I was one of a small group of volunteers who spent an hour each week for 4 weeks mentoring 5 students to help them develop their interview skills, which concluded with a mock interview for a job at our respective companies.

Whenever I go into a school (or even when I just talk to Mrs Spokes about her day), I am in awe of how teachers have the energy to cope day in, day out – I need a lie down after an hour! I get to see first-hand the amount of work, both physically and mentally, that a teacher has to put in (especially the exceptional ones like Stacey Drake at Daventry Hill, and my wife), and not always because they have to. For that we should be very grateful.

I understand now why teachers do it though. It’s not often that I get to see any real results from the volunteer sessions, but at Daventry Hill, I was lucky enough to actually see the students take things in and develop over the 4 weeks. It was amazing to see how far they had come in such a short time, and there was a significant and visible increase in competence and confidence from when we first met. I’m sure that they will go on to secure great jobs, and it’s a lovely feeling to think that you may have helped, even if it’s just a fraction of a percent. My certificate of appreciation is displayed proudly in our meeting room.

I always wanted to work in a care-based job, but know I don’t have what it takes to do it full time, so for me, volunteering a bit of time is perfect. I still get to do my job that I know I’m good at (and that I can cope with), but occasionally I get a small taste of doing something a bit more worthwhile. If you feel the same, I can highly recommend giving up an hour every so often. Helping others is not only a wonderful thing to do, it’s also a great way to increase your own mental wellbeing and sense of purpose. If you’re a teacher (or nurse/health/care/emergency service worker etc), then you already do more than enough, so give yourself an hour instead.

You can visit the Inspiring the Future and Give an Hour websites if you want to find out more about getting involved. There are also lots of volunteering opportunities on the Do-It website.

We are going to start a new scheme to encourage everyone in our team to take “volunteer days”, so please feel free to get in touch if you’d like us to give an hour at your school or organisation. We’re always happy to help when and where we can… it helps us too!