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Supporters changing lives

Engaging employees in charity partnerships

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From storytelling to sport, volunteering to visits, there are lots of different ways to get employees interested in your charity partner’s work. Staff members from John Lewis known as ‘partners’, talk about how they’ve got involved with Barnardo’s since our 18-month partnership with them began in May 2014.

Lene Wood has worked for John Lewis for 28 years and is a Community Liaison Coordinator at their Kingston store:

“It takes a lot to bring a story to life and hold a group of 30 under 10 year olds’ attention. I used to be a childminder and have three children myself so I’m used to putting on funny voices. That helped when I read books like The Gruffalo to children who came into our store over the summer for Story Time with Barnardo’s.

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Staff read stories in store to help raise money for Barnardo’s. I think it helped build partners’ confidence and there was a great energy in the Story Time area. Vulnerable children who Barnardo’s works with may not have had an experience of being read to before and stories can connect with them emotionally.

I’ve learned that Barnardo’s turns children’s lives around on lots of levels and I like the fact that John Lewis is supporting the charity in all of our stores. Next, I’m organising a Store Wars  event for January 2015 when partners’ will be able to use their retail experience to benefit two local Barnardo’s stores. It’s right that, as a large corporate business, we give something back to communities where we trade.”

Rachael Curtis has worked for John Lewis for 30 years and is PA to the company’s Managing Director:

“I had the opportunity to visit a Barnardo’s project in Birmingham, where John Lewis will be opening a new shop, in September 2015. It was a great privilege to see how the money we are raising across the business will be used to help and support young people. I found it humbling to hear the three specific project workers talk about the work we support through our fundraising.

I’ve helped to organise our annual charity golf day for the last four years which takes a good part of the year to plan. It is supported by our partners and suppliers, with the aim of raising as much money as possible for charity. This year, we raised £250,000 for Barnardo’s, a record amount, and £100,000 of which will be used to support Birmingham projects.

My job involves organising a number of events, particularly this year, in John Lewis's 150th anniversary year. I am delighted that we have been able to support Barnardo's in this special year.”

Helen Cahill has worked for John Lewis for five years and is a Community Liaison Coordinator at their Cardiff store:

“I’ve learnt a great deal about organising large scale charity events since we started working with Barnardo’s. I organised a whole week of volunteering for Barnardo’s Ely Families Project in Cardiff.  We asked staff to get involved by donating seeds and plants or helping to transform the project’s garden.

In May 2014, partners were encouraged to sign up to refurbish a room at the centre too. I think they learnt a lot about teamwork through the volunteering. We had tight deadlines and everyone needed to carry out what they said they’d do within the timescales laid down. It’s an opportunity for them to learn new skills and interact with community groups.

Barnardo’s has local projects close to our store in Cardiff so partners have been motivated to support them as they have a presence in wales. Partners have also fundraised through bike rides, selling ex display items and the Cardiff half marathon. Personally I have learnt a lot about the organisation and the tremendous work it does for young people.”

Watch our video to find out what employees at KPMG, Saint-Gobain and RBS learnt from getting involved with Barnardo’s.

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