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Employees from Arval UK who have helped others throughout what has been an incredibly difficult year, will celebrate the UN’s International Volunteer Day on Saturday (December 5).
The Swindon-headquartered mobility specialist’s voluntary hours are contributing towards an initiative supported by its parent company, BNP Paribas, where a target has been set to provide one million hours of volunteering across its global organisation, within work hours.
Tracey Fuller, UK Head of CSR at Arval UK and BNP Paribas, explained: “We have a long-established volunteer culture here at Arval and are proud to be a part of the BNP Paribas campaign to contribute one million hours of volunteering globally. Often, we would use the focal point of International Volunteers Day to get teams involved in a variety of local projects in the communities where our offices are based, but the pandemic has made that impossible this year.
“Instead, what we have been encouraging our employees to do is find ways in which they can make a difference in their local community on an individual basis, in-person or virtually and all kinds of creative outlets have been found, often directly linked to the needs of local people during the pandemic.”
Examples include Ben Edwards in Arval’s consultancy team, who has been delivering meals in the local community. He explained: “I’ve seen first-hand the impact these had because, in partnership with the Swindon Wildcats in the Community, Arval donated £5,000 – an amount that meant 3,000 children didn’t go without food.
“Getting to see where our donation went was at times overwhelming. Over six days, I delivered 470 lunches across various parts of Swindon. Seeing the children’s faces and knowing a decent meal was coming their way was amazing. It really is great to see the company’s contribution in action and it makes me incredibly proud of what we can do as a business.”
Marsha Williams, customer service adviser at Arval, detailed her contribution: “I wanted to help to make life a little bit easier for NHS staff, having seen pictures of nurses badly affected by the crisis. It made me sad that they should have to endure this whilst doing their best for people so I made protective headbands and gave 42 of them and around 25 ear savers to Great Western Hospital staff. It was all worth it as they were really grateful.”
Rachael Cheriton in Arval’s credit risk team made and donated 30 face masks for staff at Swindon Young Carers, The Harbour Project, Swindon Needy Dogs and Threshold to protect them during the pandemic with the help of Ralph and Marcie, her six year old children.
She said: “For each charity, as well as providing donations, we’ve been designing bespoke face masks for their employees. The children have really enjoyed doing this to help make a difference.”
Tracey added: “The diversity of volunteering we are seeing is amazing and many of the stories, like these, are heart-warming. This week I personally took part in a virtual networking event supporting young people and helping them to gain confidence and the skills to prepare themselves for job interviews and future employment. Honestly one of the best two hours of my week and we consistently hear how rewarding our staff find these experiences and, for many, it is a gateway to a lifetime commitment to volunteering.”
As part of Arval’s new CSR Strategy, the 1MillionHours2Help BNP Paribas #volunteering programme is spreading around the company. Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Switzerland and UK are already in and will be joined by the others by early 2021. By 2025, 30.000 solidary hours will be provided by Arval employees in 30 countries.