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The social value of volunteering

Volunteering can come in all shapes and sizes. As it's Volunteers' Week, we thought we'd show you a different type of volunteering.

As part of their social value commitments, contractors and suppliers often pledge volunteering time to support our communities. 

That's what BDS (Northern) Ltd did when they helped West Northumberland Foodbank. 

We know that not having sufficient food is a key issue across the region, so supporting initiatives that can help our customers when they need it is a focus for our social value work. 

Karbon have supported West Northumberland Foodbank since it set up over a decade ago and conversations with their Project Manager, Sam Gilchrist highlighted their need for some independent advice around their HR policies and procedures. 

Our Social Value Coordinator, Jess Alexander linked them up with Louise Ibberson, Operations Manager at BDS (Northern) Ltd who provide our Mobile Response Service to customers and are help us with recruitment support. 

Louise offered to volunteer her time and expertise to review the HR documentation they have in place, meeting with Sam and the trustees to discuss their needs as a small charitable organisation.

Louise was pleased that she was able to lend her expertise:

"The discussion with Sam and the trustees went really well received and will help West Northumberland Foodbank shape their policies and procedures moving forward. We're pleased to have been given a chance to make a difference to a smaller organisation and provide support where it was needed."

Sam is thrilled with the support Louise provided:

"We learnt a lot from Louise and really appreciated how much of her time she gave us. The session has given us the confidence to manage our own HR function after buying in some professional support to get our policies tided up and a staff handbook in place." 

What is social value?

One of the many ways in which we provide strong, sustainable places for our communities is through our Unlocking Social Value programme.

Social value measures the wider impact our activities and investments have on the wellbeing of our communities. It goes beyond the cash value and looks at the benefits our support brings to our customers lives. 

We work with our contractors and suppliers to identify how we can create opportunities that maximise social value for our customers and communities.

To find out more, keep a look out for our Unlocking Social Value Report this summer.

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