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Wrekin pledges 2,500 volunteer days to help local causes

Every year, the Wrekin Housing Group pledges more than 2,500 volunteer days a year to help local communities and good causes.
Chris Lewis volunteers his time to help the next generation of young chess players

Wrekin actively supports its employees in their efforts to volunteer across a wide range of activities and causes in their local communities. Staff can take up to an extra two days leave a year, dedicated to volunteering and making a difference.

During 2022/23, 136 staff took up the option to volunteer their time to help good causes – from community litter picks, mentoring young people, helping at local foodbanks and supporting people with their digital skills. A number of staff are using their days to support causes that matter to them.

Chris Lewis works as an accountant with Wrekin’s finance team. He also gives his time to help nurture the next generation of local chess players. Chris took on the role of Shropshire Junior Chess Organiser in early 2020

Chris said: “At the start of 2020 there were only a couple of active junior players in Shropshire. After taking on the role I wasn’t able to get very far as the country was thrust into lockdown just as I was about to look for venues. I focused on putting all the policies and procedures in place to run a junior chess club plus wrote the lesson plans. I feared when I opened the club we may struggle to attract enough players. As it turned out we were full within two weeks – with an expanding waiting list

“The club has now been running on Saturday mornings for over 18 months and it continues to have a strong turnout each week. It’s been brilliant to watch the youngsters develop over the past 18 months. Volunteering for junior chess is a massive part of my life and I’d encourage anyone thinking about volunteering for any activity to go for it. For me, nothing in life brings me more joy.”

Laura Benting is part of Wrekin’s Development team, which built over 500 new affordable homes during the last year.

Away from work, Laura volunteers her time to as a reading helper at her son’s school. Each week she gives her time to listen and support pupils with their reading.

Laura said:“I’m really grateful to Wrekin for supporting me to do this. They allow me to use my volunteer hours to give me time to help children with their reading.

“I’ve come across some really strong readers and others that just need a little bit of extra encouragement. I support pupils on a one-to-one basis and listen to them read. Reading like this can help pupils to have more fun reading, develop their confidence and encourage them to read more.

“It’s hugely rewarding, especially when you’re reading with a child for several weeks and you see them developing and gaining in confidence/ I’ve even started getting high fives at the end of sessions.”

Wrekin’s Learning and Development Executive Dina Jeram used her hours to volunteer with the Severn Gorge Countryside Trust.

Dina said: “I made nest boxes from scratch, measuring the wood, cutting it, using various power tools, painting the boxes and going into the local woods to put them up.  It was a great day mixing with various volunteers of all ages, having fun, laughing and supporting each other. Being out in the fresh air and making something with your own hands was really uplifting and satisfying.”

David Wells, Executive Director of Operational Services at The Wrekin Housing Group said: “We are committed to supporting the communities in which both our tenants and staff live and work. We also have a strong tradition of throwing ourselves into fundraising, charity events and volunteering.

“We know that many colleagues want to support good causes of their own choosing – that is why we give people the opportunity to use a portion of their work time to help out in their local community.

“Our 2,500 volunteer days will provide our staff with another fantastic opportunity to make a difference to people’s lives.”

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