At BrightGen, we not only strive to excel in our professional capacity but also embrace opportunities to make a positive impact on the world around us.
Volunteer Time Off, or VTO for short, is a type of benefit that provides employees with paid time off to do volunteer work. It is an opportunity, provided by the company, that allows employees to take a day off from work to engage in volunteer activities of their choice. Whether it’s cleaning up beaches, assisting at local shelters, or participating in community events, the Volunteer Time Off Day encourages the employees to make a positive impact and give back to the community.
A Day of Beach Cleaning in Brighton
With the company’s support, three enthusiastic employees, Tiffany, Julia, and Elena, seized the opportunity to participate in a Volunteer Time Off Day, leaving an impact on both the community and the environment – volunteering time to clean up the beautiful beaches of Brighton.
It was fantastic to be able to spend the day cleaning the beach with my colleagues. We gathered down on Brighton’s shore front early in the morning, armed with gloves, bin bags, and plenty of enthusiasm.
The good weather had returned (luckily for us!) and once we had gotten into the swing of it, our bags were filling up in no time.
As we combed the shoreline, we found all sorts of man-made items tucked between the shingles, from cigarette butts and plastic bottles to beer bottle caps and even a bright yellow high-vis jacket! It was utterly staggering to see how much pollution there was left behind by visitors (especially of the plastic kind). But working together to restore the beach’s natural beauty gave us a real sense of purpose.
I’m grateful to BrightGen for providing Volunteer Time Off which allowed us the opportunity to make positive change to our local areas, and I look forward to doing more in the future.
I was thrilled when BrightGen introduced Volunteer Time Off days, and immediately thought of organising a beach clean in my hometown of Brighton. While most people are respectful when they visit the beach and remember to clean up after themselves, and the council does its best to clean the main pathways, it’s surprising how much rubbish you can find. A lot of it gets blown around by the wind or distributed by seagulls. Other bits are washed up from elsewhere by the sea.
The most frustrating bit of cleaning up the beach (and pathways) was the cigarette burette butts. They’re everywhere! Another reason not to take up smoking, kids!
It’s important to remember that so much of our rubbish, especially non-biodegradable, ends up in the sea – which eventually enters the food chain. Rubbish isn’t just bad for the environment, or even just the fish… it’s bad for humans too. Our day felt very worthwhile once we’d collected three bags full of rubbish. And a huge bonus was getting to spend time with my colleagues outside of a normal working day.
As someone who spends most of their days sitting in front of the computer screen, it was refreshing to get outside and work with my colleagues on something completely different from the everyday business. The Volunteer Time Off Day is a great reminder of the positive impact we can have when we come together for a common cause. I’m truly grateful to have been a part of it.
Not only did we make a difference in the cleanliness of the beach, but we also raised awareness among passersby. I really hope our efforts had a ripple effect and helped spread the message of environmental responsibility far and wide.
Swinging for a Cause: A Golf Day
Another team of BrightGeners had a wonderful time during their Volunteer Time Off Golf Day. They enjoyed a day of golf while supporting a great cause, raising over £100 for Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity supports seriously ill children and young people every day by funding rebuilding and refurbishment, providing support for families and children, conducting research into children’s health, and supplying life-saving medical equipment.
“A very enjoyable day with great people having fun and, more importantly, raising money for a very worthwhile cause! Huge thanks to Ben Dyer for putting in the time and effort to make it all happen. It’s amazing how much good we can do while having fun on the greens.”
Roger CarpenterService Manager
It was a rewarding experience, combining fun with making a meaningful impact for the charity!
St Lawrence Fair – A Day of Giving Back
Another member of our team, Mike Doughty, chose to use his VTO day to volunteer at the St Lawrence Fair.
I always look forward to the annual St Lawrence Fair in my village. It’s an event with a rich history, dating back to 1313 when it was granted a Royal charter by King Edward II to celebrate the Patron Saint of the village, St. Lawrence.
More than just a typical village fete, this two-week-long celebration features various activities such as talent shows, quizzes, pet competitions, and other local events.
The highlight of the fair takes place on Friday and Saturday, with a full lineup of exciting activities. Friday starts with the setup. We prepare the arena, string bunting, set up marquees, ensuring there’s enough power and lighting. But the most crucial task is setting up the bar. This year, I joined the small but dedicated bar team, making sure that no one went thirsty in the scorching afternoon sun. Throughout the two days, we served over 2000 pints of beer, lager, and cider! And all the profits go back to fund next year’s fair.
On Saturday, there are arena events, a fun run, and a lively procession. There are dozens of stalls from local societies and businesses. We even have a traditional traveling fun fair with merry-go-rounds, dodgems, and side shows. This year, the weather was kind, attracting more than 7000 people to join in the festivities!
At 5:30, the fair comes to a close, but our work isn’t done yet. It’s time to dismantle everything, pack it all up, and store it away for next year. The sense of accomplishment in seeing the successful event and knowing that we contributed to its success is truly rewarding.
I’ve been volunteering at the St Lawrence Fair for over 25 years now. I just love being part of this vibrant community event year after year. It’s like a tradition I can’t break, and I wouldn’t want to! It’s not just about the fair itself; it’s about giving back to my village and being part of something special.
Thanks to Kevin Umanee, our head of HR, and the leadership team for introducing the Volunteer Time Off Day and supporting our collective efforts to give back to our community. It’s not just a day off work, it’s a day to make a real difference. We look forward to future opportunities to make a positive impact. We hope we’ll see many more inspiring activities organised by our colleagues.