16 December, 2021

Partnership Working

Last year, the Youth Support Team responded to the national concerns around food poverty for those families most in need, particularly around school holidays, and partnered with other local charities and organisations to help address this need locally. Our Healthy Holidays scheme has continued to develop since then and has now become a significant part of our school holiday offer, with us helping to deliver 5729 of breakfast packs, 4996, ready to heat, meals to families across Gloucestershire in the last 12 months.

This summer we had the pleasure to partner with employees from Marsh, a world leading insurance and risk advisor, whose Bristol office staff volunteered alongside our own volunteers to help with preparation and delivery of meals to vulnerable families in Gloucestershire. We caught up with Sheelagh Shanley, Head of Office for Marsh Corporate for South West and Wales to find out more about how the partnership came about and their experience of working with us.

YST: How did Marsh come to support our Healthy Holidays project?

SS: Shaw Trust have been clients of our Bristol Office for several years, we have a very strong working relationship and in the course of our business discussions the topic of Holiday Hunger came up, and we said we’d be very happy to support any initiatives in the future.

Marsh have a well-established Social Impact programme where we encourage everyone to do at least one day a year, volunteering in our local communities. So, when Shaw Trust reached out to ask if we were interested in helping the YST we jumped at the opportunity. Since then, we have spent three days on site with your team between summer and October half term, helping to prepare and deliver meals. It’s been a really good experience for our team.

 

YST: What has the collaboration with us meant to you and your team?

SS: It’s very important to us that we are present in local communities, not just as a brand, but by getting involved and giving something back to those communities. Having the opportunity to share our skills with local communities and building an understanding and awareness of the challenges faced by those communities is important to us as an organisation.

On a larger scale we want to have a more culturally diverse team, including diversity of thought and experience – having these experiences help us to merge that into our organisation.

Our staff that volunteered this year felt that they really had an opportunity to give something back that was genuine and very tangible in terms of how they felt after the experience. It’s like a reality check – we sometimes see things in the media but it’s only when you’re at the coal face that you really see what social deprivation means for some families. It puts things into perspective.

YST: What do you think your involvement has brought to our Healthy Holiday scheme?

SS: The skills we have within our own working environment, we are organised and disciplined, and we like to think that we get the job done, so we bring those skills and ethos. We also brought empathy – many of us have children – and many of us bring a lot of life experience.

It also gives us an insight into youth, and how we can reach out to them in terms of what we can offer as an organisation, regardless of background, in terms of opportunities.

YST: How would you like to see us working together in the future?

SS: We’d like to continue to support with the Healthy Holidays – some of our team were unable to participate and we’d welcome the opportunity for everyone to have the experience.

I’d also like to explore further opportunities to work more closely with young people – maybe in coaching and supporting them. We can also provide work experiences to give them insight into our world and the opportunities that exist. We’d like to share that it isn’t a closed industry or an environment that you have to have lots of GCSEs and A Levels – we are committed to providing equal opportunities – and we take a number of apprentices each year. This is something we’d like to explore with YST.

YST: Is there anything else you’d like to say that you haven’t had an opportunity to say?

SS: I would just say it was a pleasure and a joy to have had the experience. We’ve had other volunteer experiences in the past, but this really touched the core, it hit home, and everybody enjoyed the experience whilst it was a real eye opener for us. It’s something we want to do again and felt really worthwhile.

 

 

On behalf of YST we want to extend our gratitude to Sheelagh and her team at Marsh and we look forward to working with you again soon. To find out more about our local offer contact us at info.glos@prospects.co.uk

To read more on Marsh's Social Impact commitment click HERE >

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