Charity centre gets a makeover from Waitrose staff

GOOD causes and charities are being urged to contact a supermarket to take advantage of its employee’s manpower and skills.

Waitrose Saffron Walden branch is donating 250 hours of its employee’s time to benefit the community as part of its Partner Volunteering Scheme. Over the coming months its partners - as all employees are known - will be taking time out from their day-to-day roles to give back to the community.

The scheme was launched in earnest on Sunday morning as around a dozen partners helped spruce up the home of volunteering in Uttlesford.

The team spent several hours painting the interior and exterior, and installing new office equipment, at the portacabin which is home to the Uttlesford Volunteer Centre.

Partners selected UVC, based behind the community hospital in Radwinter Road, as its first project because of its role in supporting the volunteering sector in the district – the charity helps people find suitable volunteering opportunities while helping voluntary and statutory organisations to find volunteers. It also acts as a centre of information on all aspects of volunteering.


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And the level of Waitrose’s involvement goes deeper still with one partner, Jack Trotti, visiting the charity once a month to offer IT and marketing skills – he has even become a trustee - and another applying through the charity to be a Befriender for MIND, a counselling service provider for the disabled.

UVC deputy manager Pat Lodge has relished the support.

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“I have been so impressed with Waitrose doing what they said they would do,” she said. “This is more than people just turning up and helping out. They [Waitrose partners] have really thought about it. The preparation and hard work that has gone into the project has been fantastic.

“We are proud the team has come to us first and helped in our push for a new-look office.”

A wide variety of other causes are also poised to benefit from charity shops, animal shelters and nursing homes to schools, gardening projects and sports teams. The type of support given could include transforming a woodland or garden for hospices, sharing retail and customer service skills with a charity shop, or supporting a community litter pick.

The supermarket hopes the scheme will also provide partners with the opportunity to develop new skills which they can apply within their own working or personal lives.

Branch manager Malcolm Domb – who was part of the team to makeover the UVC office – was pleased to launch the scheme in Saffron Walden, stating that “it will provide an opportunity for our partners to choose good causes and charities that they would like to give support to in recognition of the fantastic work they do within our community”.

Mr Domb thanked Ridgeons for supplying the paint and equipment, Finishing Touch Design for the external paint and Blue Square Interiors for the replacement desks and office equipment.

Donations of carpet tiles to complete the project would be welcome. Anyone who can help should call Waitrose personnel manager Tracy Grice on 01799 525724 or e-mail personnelmanagersaffronwalen@waitrose.co.uk.

• Saffron Walden’s Waitrose is encouraging any local good causes in need of support to get in touch or fill in an application form at the branch’s welcome desk.

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