Corporate volunteering: Wilkins Kennedy Minstead Trust is privileged to have support from local companies who dedicate time, fundraising efforts and donations to enable us to provide the range of support we do, offering training and support to adults with learning disabilities across the South. With 93% of the worlds’ largest 250 companies annually releasing CSR reports, it marks the way for UK businesses to follow suit and ensure it becomes a weighty workplace focus. With the ability to enhance company reputation whilst making a crucial difference in your local community, engaging with fundraising efforts, team building and volunteering projects all help to activate social change. Today, we chat to Emma Higham from Wilkins Kennedy’s Romsey branch about why she got involved with supporting Minstead Trust and her fundraising plans. How long has Wilkins Kennedy supported the Minstead Trust? Wilkins Kennedy has been supporting the wonderful Minstead Trust for six months and I’m delighted that it has also been chosen as the ‘Charity of the Year’ for the Romsey branch of the company. Volunteering had always been one of those activities I wanted to experience on my ‘bucket list’ which is how I initially got involved with the charity, sparing some of my time outside of work to support on the tills at Furzey Gardens. My passion for Minstead Trust and the work it delivers has grown the more time I spend around the team so I was thrilled to put it forward to my workplace and encourage more people to get behind our fundraising efforts. How many volunteering sessions has the company participated in and which activities have you taken part in? On the 19th July, 8 members of staff from across four Wilkins Kennedy offices (Romsey, Winchester, Southampton and Portsmouth) visited Minstead Trust’s base in New Forest for a CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) day. The team worked extremely hard throughout the day, supporting the team with general garden maintenance and weeding, including taking the tractor out for a spin around the grounds! With so many local charities to choose from, what was it about Minstead Trust in particular that made your company want to support them? Minstead Trust has been close to the hearts of many in the team so it was an easy decision to make this charity the focus of our fundraising efforts. As already mentioned, I was involved as a volunteer to start with and couldn’t wait to get more of my workmates involved with such an amazing, unique charity. A number of the team are also connected to the charity with various parents working at Minstead Lodge over the years. How important is it to Wilkins Kennedy to be supporting a local charity? It was important to Wilkins Kennedy to select a charity where the teams efforts have maximum impact for the charity. Our teams are able to concentrate on regionally getting the word out that charities like Minstead Trust actually exist and that support is out there for those that need it. I find it hard to believe that across the South West there are still people who haven’t come across the charity before, we want to do everything we can to raise its profile. They are a small but really impactful charity, and in fact really active on social media, so we want to help raise their profile. What have been your favourite fundraising activities so far, and what have you got lined up? Personally, my favourite fundraising event has been ‘The Drop’ at the Spinnaker Tower which I recently embarked on – it was terrifying and I did have a wave of nerves just before I started to descend but I am so glad I did it, it was simply amazing. As a company, numerous ‘Dress Down Days’ in the office have raised up to £50 each time. We’ve also set up a charity quiz night at the Strawberry Field Tavern pub on 30th October. To discuss corporate volunteering opportunities or annual fundraising partnerships with Minstead Trust please email Lesley Brooks at [email protected] or call 023 8081 7148.