It’s the season of giving, and at Talent Works, we’ve always prioritised giving back as much as we can. While this festive season is a little different, and it’s harder for us to make a difference, it doesn’t mean our spirit has been crushed.
After this year, we’re all looking for some heart-warming stories to lift our spirits. At Talent Works, we decided to look internally and ask our team if they had any good deeds to share.
We are lucky enough to have some incredibly talented and generous people working at Talent Works. While we’re great at recruitment, employer branding, digital recruitment marketing and creative campaigns that’s not all our people do. We wanted to take some time to shout out our employees that volunteer for various charities, while raising awareness for the great causes they support.
Amanda – Shout
Amanda is a client success partner at Talent Works. In her spare time, she volunteers for Shout, the text service people can use for free when they’re struggling to cope.
Since the service began in May, its volunteers have had more than 500,000 conversations with people who are anxious, stressed, depressed, suicidal or overwhelmed and who need immediate support. Since Covid-19 the service has become even more critical as one of the few mental health support services able to operate normally. Mental health issues are growing day by day, and the impact of the lockdown and pandemic has made work like Amanda’s even more critical, it could help save and change lives.
“I help texters work through their difficult feelings and find a way to a cool calm. This can range from people in dealing with grief, loneliness, depression all the way up to someone who is in the act of suicide or thinking about it.”
Karen – St Francis House
Karen works in our Boston office as our Client Services Director. Every year, Karen helps St. Francis House a charity in downtown Boston.
St. Francis House serves an average of 500 poor and homeless men and women a day, 365 days a year. They transform lives by addressing behavioural health, housing, and employment needs, which gives people back their dignity and self-determination.
“Annually, a few old friends and I get together and help this charity any way we can and always have fun doing it! From peeling hundreds of roasted beets in one day to be served for dinner to sorting and sizing thousands of donated business suits, to helping residents get their ‘creative on’ in the craft centre, it’s all rewarding work. Not only does it remind you not to take the comforts of home and health for granted, but it also reminds you of how little it takes to make someone else’s day.”
Heather – sidekick
Heather, our client partner, volunteers for sidekick in her free time. sidekick is a non-profit mental health community of volunteers who use their passion, skills and experience to help people help themselves.
Part of their work is the sidekick app, an entirely free solution housing an ever-growing library of interactive exercises, tools and tips to boost your mental wellbeing. sidekick’s mission is to empower people to support their own mental health. There are so many types of therapy, coping mechanisms and activities that are recommended for mental health, but everyone is different, and sometimes it can be hard to know where to start. The sidekick app collates a wide variety of support methods for users to try and find what works for them – a toolkit of mental health exercises right at your fingertips.
“I support with digital marketing and content creation for sidekick. I look after the social media accounts, our blog and support with the podcast. I’ve built up some great relationships with mental health content creators, advocates and therapists. It’s really great to spend time researching and exploring new content that ultimately has the opportunity to change somebody’s life.”
Keisha – Royal Voluntary Service
Since the pandemic started, Keisha our Senior Sourcing Specialist has been a part of the Royal Voluntary Service. She has made over 50 calls to older people in need of some company from across the country, people who had incredible stories and wonderful personalities that have felt so alone in this crazy year. Keisha has loved speaking to these people and helping to support them through a tough time. Some of her standouts include an elderly man who lost his wife of 60 years last year and has no children or friends to support him and an older woman whose husband has dementia.
“Being high risk myself, I have been stuck at home for most of the year and wanted to do something to help. I signed up to be a telephone volunteer. I like talking, I find it lifts my mood as well, and if I can use that to help others, it sounded perfect. Little did I know that it would change my life. I get a notification on an app of people who are lonely and want a chat. I spend most evening and weekends on duty, and in the past nine months, I have spoken to some of the most incredible people.
“When Covid is over, I have already started having my clearances done to volunteer at Carehomes for the elderly. I have always had a soft spot for the elderly and have learnt so much being part of the Royal Voluntary Service and want to continue to give back to a generation that did things way better than we have. ” Find out more
Nikki – Children of Cameroon
When not at work Nikki, our digital content manager volunteers for Children of Cameroon; a charity dedicated to finding sponsorship for children in the developing country.
This relatively new charity works with rural communities in Cameroon, to enable children to access education, healthcare and nutrition. Cameroon is a country which is currently in the middle of a devastating conflict and sees high levels of poverty, child marriage and many other issues. Searching for sponsors can help children achieve their dreams and break out of the poverty cycle for good. Children of Cameroon aim to build a real relationship between child and sponsor. Sponsorship pays for school fees and supplies, fresh vegetables for the child and their family as well as essential items like clothing and blankets.
“When the pandemic hit, I really felt the need to help a charity but wasn’t sure how. I found the opportunity to write bi-weekly blog content and support with social media for Children of Cameroon, which I thought could be a way to put my skills to use. I’ve been lucky enough to write blogs covering some fascinating topics, including barriers to education, culture in Cameroon, and even the impact charities such as this one can have on children’s lives. “
Karishma – Various Charities
Karishma, our senior sourcing specialist, helps various charities throughout the year. She makes food or financial donations to Restore Northampton. At the beginning of the first lockdown, they had seen a considerable decrease in the amount that was being donated. When the supermarket shelves were bare, they were facing difficulties in sourcing the necessities.
“I went to 7 or 8 different supermarkets to try and source as much as possible from their ‘urgently needed’ list (and even had to get authorisation to purchase from 3 managers in Sainsbury’s as they thought she was trying to stockpile like the rest of the country). I was one of their last supply donations at the time as they had to switch to financial help only due to CoVid restrictions. It is a charity that I often donate to, and this year I’m sure will have made more of a difference for them.”
Karishma also donates to an Eye Camp in India at the end of the year which pays for people from local villages to travel to hospitals to get critical cataract removals. The money pays for the individual to be picked up from their house, taken to hospital, treated, monitored overnight and then returned home.
“This sounds like such a small thing, but in India, this is not a treatment that is easily available for all, and it is so expensive that often, rather than get treated, people are forced to live with the condition which can sometimes result in blindness.”
Finally, every year around Christmas, she selects a hospital (in the past it has been either Great Ormond Street or Northampton General) and makes gift donations.
“The hospitals will have a drive this time of year for donations so that they can give every patient one gift on Christmas Day and try to make their day a bit special. This year, as CoVid has restricted things, I will be making financial donations instead.”
Talent Works has always prioritised giving back; it makes a large part of our company culture. In pre-COVID days, our team could take an extra day off every year to volunteer for a cause close to their hearts. Obviously, that’s been a little harder this year.
Instead, our Business Ops team have come up with a great initiative and a twist on Secret Santa. This year, anyone who wishes to join in has been asked to select a charity of their choice and state the amount of money they’d like to donate. We thought this was a great way of giving back after such a strange year and hope that we raise can make a real difference to a whole host of charities.
Our charitable efforts will not stop after Christmas, but we wanted to use the season of goodwill to shine a light on these incredible organisations close to our team’s hearts.