PENGUINS are flock animals. They’re sociable and, above all, they stick together. They care about their community, and that is the same for Penguin PR – which is why today we’re championing volunteering on UK Charity Week’s Volunteers’ Day (9 Dec).
Based in Derby – with a second office in the county – there are several charities and not-for-profit organisations with whom we are involved.
Many will be familiar with the charity the YMCA. Over the past 12 months, we have volunteered for various initiatives at our local branch. Their work benefits young and old people, and we met a fabulous mix of folk during their monthly ‘Community Meal’.
Each month a local business is invited to cook a two-course meal for up to 70 people – residents and regulars who use the services provided by the YMCA – and, best of all, they get to serve up their creation to people who wouldn’t ordinarily get the chance to visit a restaurant.
It was a great chance to channel our inner Jamie Oliver, although you don’t have to be a Masterchef, and we felt much more at home than we did when we volunteered to sleep rough – with other businesses – on a rainy night in March!
According to The Big Issue, an estimated 227,000 people in the UK are experiencing the worst forms of homelessness; rough sleeping, sleeping in vans and B&Bs.
Worsening post-Covid and with the cost of living now so high.
What we experienced was a mere snippet of life on the streets. It was wet. We were soaked. But there was laughter, bonding, and a lot of money raised for the YMCA.
At Penguin PR, we work with several schools and education providers. The past couple of years has been tough for young people as subsequent lockdowns impacted their education, social skills and mental well-being.
They have missed out on so much, but through the careers-based volunteering scheme Our Future and E4E Derby – an initiative backed by the city council and with global organisations such as Rolls-Royce and Toyota onboard – we have been able to give something back.
The Penguin PR team have hosted Enterprise Challenge Days at secondary schools, given careers talks and enjoyed mock interviews.
Most importantly, though, we have listened to the needs of young people. Questions have often seamlessly gone from ‘what are your ambitions’ to ‘how have you been lately’.
If those young people need further help, there are brilliant charities such as Enthusiasm Trust – which provides a safe place and opportunities to develop life skills enabling social mobility. The Derbyshire Children’s Holiday Centre is a 130-year-old charity providing youngsters across the county with a week-long holiday at a specialist residential home in Skegness.
They all rely heavily on the hard work of volunteers and provide an essential service, particularly during these difficult times.
Through volunteering, you can challenge yourself to try something different. You can gain new skills – or rediscover ones you had forgotten – and meet new people.
It’s a chance to give back and feel good. It’s a proven fact that volunteering can boost your mood. What can be better than playing football in a muddy field with a group of seven-year-olds who have never been on holiday at Derby Kids Camp?!