With team members based all over the UK and beyond, we chose Bristol as a hub for one of our first ‘all company’ gatherings. As part of this team day, our CSR team decided it would be a great opportunity to launch our CSR volunteer activities.
Our previous employee surveys had already identified that volunteer activities were something the whole company seemed to rally behind, so we added an extra day to our team gathering and searched for a great local charity that had activities we could contribute to with a group of up to 10 people.
Having looked at several options, we selected Emmaus as the charity to use, partly because it is just a great cause, but also the whole approach resonated with the team. Emmaus specialise in helping both the homeless and those on very low incomes and they have a number of areas and activities that they cover, but the area we chose to focus on for the day was the furniture store.
Generous people donate old, shabby and sometimes broken furniture to the charity and then they upcycle it (painting sanding, waxing, repairing etc) giving it a second lease of life and then the item goes into the on-site warehouse. The warehouse is staffed by many volunteers including some homeless people themselves and then items are selected from the warehouse and sold in the Emmaus shop direct to the public. Visitors to the shop range from low income families and individuals, students and those looking for just reasonably priced furniture right through to those looking for more random, eclectic furniture that needs a new home.
We had 8 volunteers that joined for the day to help upcycle furniture, and without exception, we all had an extremely enjoyable and rewarding day. In addition to the ‘people power’ we also provided a donation to cover the cost of all of the materials so that any money made from the furniture sales went entirely back to the charity. The furniture we upcycled ranged from simple old ikea deck chairs, through to bookshelves, coffee tables and the star of the show a lovely old chest of drawers. As you can see from the photos, a variety of styles were used, with a variety of results, but hopefully they all went on to generate a bit more money for the charity when they finally went for sale.
For anyone in the Bristol area we would strongly recommend a visit to the shop to snap up a bargain, or if you are unable to get to there then they do have a number of shops all over the UK or the team there would gladly welcome any donations here.
Other events and activities
River Reeves 2022 Mont Blanc Cycle Challenge
Team event – November 2022 (coming soon!)