Volunteering – how we’re supporting people with special needs and learning difficulties.

-At EMCOR UK we give colleagues up to two days off each year, fully paid, to give back to their local community by supporting charitable causes close to their hearts.-

Volunteering-_EMCOR_UK_600 (1).png Pictured, from left to right: Lee Chapman - Handy Person, Eastleigh: Jess Rauf – Operational Support Mngr, Eastleigh: Dace Bushaway - Bid Mngr Eastleigh, Sharan Marley - H&S Mngr (Projects/Improvements) Mobile: Chris Pope - AC Service Engineer Eastleigh Mobile: Carol Holman - Address Book Administrator Eastleigh: Duane Golba – Assistant QS Eastleigh: Carole James -S nr Management Asst, Eastleigh: Tony Palframan - F&S Estimator: Dave Parker – Group Executive Director, Eastleigh, Mark Minshull - Multi Skilled Electrical Supervisor, Peacehaven: Hannah Kent - Payment Team Administrator, Eastleigh: Zoe Morley - Recruitment Officer, Eastleigh: Pete Mumford (Ground Control): Lucy Strange - Recruitment Officer, Eastleigh:

September 2019: Pony TLC located near Basingstoke, is an equine therapeutic centre for children and adults with special needs and learning difficulties and is the recent recipient of a crack team of volunteers from EMCOR UK who happily undertook two days of manual work to support the centre.

We first heard about Pony TLC from our customer Hampshire County Council. After visiting the centre to assess the support they needed, we found the riding school was in great need of repair and maintenance. For example, during our first survey, we discovered the menage swamped due to wet weather and unusable, some critical outbuildings were in disrepair and not sufficiently weatherproof to store their hay and tack. And there was large swathes of fields and gullies waist high in overgrown vegetation.

Fifteen volunteers joined our project for two days

After agreeing and prioritising a schedule of work with the centre, we reached out to colleagues and gathered volunteers to support the project from across our business working in the South of England. We also collaborated with a number of our supply chain partners; Brandons - who very generously donated equipment and portaloos, Ground Control - who supplied power tools and three people to assist for a day, and Mathias - who supplied our personal protective equipment (PPE).

We started our first two-day phase in May with the team spending their time clearing many years of vegetation growth from fields and gullies. Everyone who volunteered threw themselves into the physical work without complaint! In fact, everyone wished they could have spent the whole week doing more work for Pony TLC as it was so rewarding.

Juliette Hammond, Equine Therapy Facilitator said: "The entire team from EMCOR UK arrived with huge enthusiasm and team spirit! Armed with tools and lots of smiles, they chopped and raked and cleared areas that I could never have managed on my own. By the end of the two days Pony TLC looked like it had had quite a makeover! Thank you EMCOR UK!"

Team building and lifelong friendships made

Dave Parker, one of EMCOR UK’s Group Executive Directors, volunteered and worked solidly for two days. Of the experience, he said; “It was hugely rewarding to be able to do something that will improve the lives of young people with special needs and learning difficulties.” Reflecting back, Dave added: “I was proud of everyone who participated. I discovered that one of the many benefits of colleagues coming together to volunteer is the team building aspects and friendships made.” Dave pointed out that colleagues who had previously greeted each other with a friendly nod or convivial ‘good morning’ had bonded so well that they had become good friends at work, due to sharing such a rewarding experience in common.

The transformation was overwhelming

The transformation to the entrance of the centre and side area was amazing. Pony TLC’s Juliette Hammond, was so pleased with the results she later wrote to us to say how “totally overwhelmed” she was at what we had achieved in just two days.

Our support for Pony TLC doesn’t stop there. We will be back to undertake more work later this year, so if you are reading this and are interested in helping on our next visit then please contact us. You do not have to work at EMCOR UK, you just need to be willing to work hard for a couple of days in order to help the centre to continue to support people with learning difficulties and special needs. For further information, please contact: wellbeing@emcoruk.com.

The value of volunteering to your wellbeing

During 2018 we developed our Wellbeing programme and launched EMCOR UK’s Six Ways to Wellbeing to provide a framework to support colleagues with their mental health and overall wellbeing. Why? Because scientific studies have shown us that by following them, happiness will increase.

Giving and Connect are two of the Six Ways to Wellbeing; which is why volunteering is so important, not only to the recipient – but for those who give. Studies have shown that volunteering in your local community can remind you of your sense of purpose and make you feel happier and more satisfied about life. It also helps you to build varied social connections, and this can increase feelings of happiness and self-worth. In our view, this is a win – win!

EMCOR UK’s Six Ways to Wellbeing are Connect, Be Active, Keep Learning, Give, Take Notice and Nourish. EMCOR UK is proud to be a responsible employer and is committed to supporting the local communities it serves. For more information, please email: wellbeing@emcoruk.com