Staff from Harrogate based company, Belzona Polymerics, have recently lent a helping hand volunteering with the Help at Home service. Employees Marina Silvi and Tom Belli both volunteered their time to assist with practical jobs for the charity’s older and vulnerable clients around the Harrogate District.

Tom  has helped out with both gardening and decorating. On the first occasion, he painted a room for someone who was in hospital, allowing them to move back into a fresh and clean room on their return.  The second time, he was joined by colleague Marina to do some gardening. The owner of the property had become ill which had led to the garden becoming overgrown. After a few hours’ work, the two had cut everything back to leave the garden in a manageable state.

The volunteering was arranged under Belzona’s 1% Club, an innovative scheme which encourages employees to spend 1% of their working time volunteering with the company’s chosen charities, HELP and the Harrogate Homeless Project.  The idea was to allow employees to give back to their local community, in which they both live and work. Employee Marina had always intended to do some charitable work but had struggled to make time for it. When the opportunity arose to volunteer within work time, she was keen to get involved.

The two employees were both amazed at the difference their volunteering stint made to local residents. Marina commented: “I enjoyed having the whole day to transform the gardens back to their former glory. On both occasions, the homeowners had used to be really proud of their gardens and enjoyed spending time outside, but changing circumstances had stopped them from looking after them so well. At the end of the day, it was really worthwhile when we saw the reactions of the home-owners, as well as some before and after pictures.”

HELP’s services rely upon volunteers. Each week around 100 volunteers jointly offer over 200 hours of their time to support older or vulnerable people, and those living with disability, to remain living independently within their own homes. Volunteering can either be done on a regular or ad hoc basis, or even as a one-off.

Frances Elliot, HELP Manager said: “As the Belzona example has shown, many hands really do make light work. We are particularly keen to hear from local companies who may be able to offer groups of volunteers to work with our Help at Home service. It’s fantastic for team building, hugely rewarding and a great way to make a difference locally.”

More information about volunteering with HELP can be found here or by contacting Anna or Lizzie from the HELP team or 01423 813090.