Employees of Leeds Building Society can now take up to 14 hours of paid leave per year to volunteer for good causes, effective immediately, as part of an expansion of the organisation’s volunteering programme.
Previously, the programme allowed staff seven hours of paid leave per year to spend working in their communities. The additional hours have been put in place to enable employees to support the organisation’s national partnerships with Samaritans and parkrun.
The change has been made to celebrate the success of Leeds Building Society’s Volunteers’ Week, which ran from 4 to 8 June 2018. During the week, more than 65 employees were involved in a range projects, including working with Canal and River Trust, Larchfield Care Home and the Woodhouse Community Garden.
Leeds Building Society has approximately 1,400 employees. In 2017, 50% of staff took the opportunity to volunteer in their local communities, totalling 4,700 hours invested in more than 160 different projects.
Richard Fearon, chief commercial officer at Leeds Building Society, said: “Doing what’s right for our communities is a major part of our corporate responsibility strategy. Over the last few years we’ve stepped up our commitment, entering two national partnerships with parkrun and Samaritans.
“These organisations are different in so many ways, but share a commonality of being powered by thousands of volunteers. The enormous success of parkrun relies on its dedicated volunteers giving up their time to marshal, time runners and record results. Equally, the commitment of Samaritans volunteers means they are available around the clock, 365 days a year, to help those struggling to cope.
“We’re founded on the principle of people helping people, and volunteering is one of the greatest expressions of this. So, in response to the enthusiasm shown by [employees] and to increase our impact through our partnerships, we have doubled the volunteering time available.”
Ruth Sutherland, chief executive officer of Samaritans, said: “Our volunteers are the bedrock of the charity and enable us to offer a free service that runs round the clock, every single day of the day for anyone who is struggling.
“It’s fantastic to see Leeds Building Society recognise the value of volunteering by doubling the volunteering hours available to staff, so they can continue to raise vital funds and awareness of Samaritans.”