Lightfoots are founder members of the Thame Rotary Business in the Community project alongside Richardsons Accountants, Waitrose, Kubota Ltd, Lucy Electric Ltd and The Oxfordshire Hotel. The scheme involves volunteers from each businesses joining employees from the other businesses, to undertake community projects, during company time. Rotary identifies projects through its links with local authorities, local charities and other similar organisations. The projects are generally of a practical nature requiring a different skill set to those used during the volunteer’s normal work.
The scheme was started this year and John Singer, President of Thame and District Rotary said, “The response from local businesses and their employees has been fantastic. The first project undertaken was at Lewknor’s Blue Cross where the staff and vets room were redecorated. This was followed by the preparation of an allotment for the children at Chillworth House School. We completed the third project on 14th May when a team of seven volunteers carried out a project at Thomley.
Lightfoots were delighted to provide a total of seven volunteers from all areas of the business to assist on all three projects.
Project One: Blue Cross Lewknor
The first project undertaken was at Lewknor’s Blue Cross where two very enthusiastic groups of volunteers from Lucy Electric Ltd and from The Oxfordshire Golf Hotel and Spa, Lightfoots Solicitors and Richardsons Chartered Accountants redecorated the staff room and vets’ offices on 19th and 20th April. During the first day the rooms were prepared including removing wall fixings, repairing walls and sandpapering. During the second day the walls were repainted with emulsion and radiators glossed.
Clare Cruttenden Centre Manager of Lewknor Blue Cross said: “We’re really proud of the facilities that we have for our pets, but the areas used by the team for breaks and to work in were looking tired. Having these rooms painted makes a huge difference to the dedicated team of staff and volunteers who work hard to care for homeless pets, giving them more pleasant places to work and take well-earned breaks. We’re very grateful to Thame and District Rotary and the volunteers from local companies for making this possible.”
The monetary value of this first project is estimated at around £2,000 to Blue Cross however, the benefits have not been solely financial. The community has benefited by their being an additional voluntary resource, businesses have been able to contribute to their own community, volunteers have networked with colleagues and employees from other local companies and some have even learned new skills.
Lightfoots provided two volunteers for this project, Maria Edwards and Louise Ashby. Maria said “Rotary have 3 projects lined up at the moment; it sounds like they were rather overwhelmed with the response received from the companies they approached, and genuinely really pleased and grateful that everyone is so keen to help. The project was very enjoyable, we got on well and it all was done around 4pm!
Project Two: Chilworth House School
On May 4, a team of 10 volunteers created an allotment out of an overgrown patch of ground, for pupils with social, emotional and mental health needs at Chilworth House School, Wheatley. a provider of specialist education and care for children and young people with social, emotional and mental health needs, communication difficulties (autistic spectrum conditions, Asperger’s Syndrome, speech, language and communication needs) and complex learning needs.
Michelle Johnson Head Teacher explained “The school wanted to convert an area of ground, which had been unused for several years and overgrown with weeds into an allotment Access to an allotment is a really valuable resource for the development of the pupils “life skills” which is extremely important for children with special needs. Also, the vegetables grown will be used to educate the children about healthy diets. The ongoing development and care of the allotment will be carried out by the pupils supervised by a member of staff. It is the “kick starting” of this allotment by the really hard-working volunteers which will now make this possible. They have done a brilliant job”
The monetary value of this first project is estimated at around £1,200 to Chilworth House however, the benefits have not been solely financial. During the day some pupils have benefited by interacting with the volunteers while the work was being carried out, the businesses have been able to support a worthwhile project in their own community while interacting with the pupils and volunteers have networked with colleagues and employees from other local companies.
Lightfoots provided two volunteers for this projects, Perry Grove and Matt Sweet who commented “Digging the allotment was hard work, but we got a great sense of achievement on finishing the project. In fact, all the volunteers worked so well together that we were able to complete some additional jobs!”.
Project Three: Thomley
We completed the third project on 14th May when a team of seven volunteers carried out a project at Thomley
Thomley is a centre for people of all abilities and disabilities. It brings disabled people, their families, carers and friends together with experienced and nurturing staff that support their additional needs and requirements. Thomley provides services for people with a wide range of learning, physical or medical impairments from birth to pension age Learning starts early in life mainly through play, leisure and recreational activities. For all of us, this is an initial start where we build social skills, physical capacity and confidence as well as learning to manage risks. Disabled people don’t have the same opportunities as their non-disabled peers to engage in recreational, play, leisure and life skills development due to the nature and breadth of their impairments. This means they miss essential experiences their non-disabled peers take for granted. Thomley has developed the skills, experience and expertise in providing a wide range of active and creative recreational activities that support the development of social skills, confidence and physical/emotional well-being.
Lightfoots provided three volunteers for this projects, Joel Taylor, Jemma Granger and Chris Biggs. Jemma said I thoroughly enjoyed having the opportunity to volunteer at Thomley, particularly as I have a personal connection to the centre. Thomley is a fantastic place and provides a safe and secure environment for people of all ages to develop and grow. It was a privilege to be able to carry out works for the centre to ensure it can continue to provide these superb facilities going forwards.”
Chris Biggs, Partner at Lightfoots and volunteer at Thomley said” The response from our staff to the Rotary Business in the Community Scheme has been incredible. Many of our employees live locally and have close ties with the charities and organisations involved, supporting them but also benefiting from the great work they carry out. When Rotary approached Lightfoots we saw the initiative as the perfect way to support local charities and give our staff the opportunity to be further involved in the community. We’d like to thank all staff and firms involved for their commitment and enthusiasm and, of course, Rotary for the effort they have put in to planning and organising this exciting volunteer scheme.