August has been a bit quiet in the world of corporate volunteering. A lot of the teams I’d normally be working with are already covering each other with staff on leave, so it can mean less gets done than I’d like. June and July were busy; September and October look set to be busy too, but August has definitely been quieter.

I’ve had a few of teams out volunteering this month though and two in particular really show the diverse things that employer supported volunteers can get up to.

Group one spent the day with Cornwall Hospice Care in St Austell, somewhere they’d specifically requested to help. There were 11 volunteers, and they’d been told in advance that they’d be split between two activities. After a brilliant welcome talk from the Volunteer Coordinator, five of the group went off to Mount Edgcumbe Hospice and teamed up with the maintenance team to work on the gardens. The hospice is in large grounds and there are lots of ongoing tasks, so extra hands are always welcome!

The other members of the team stayed at the furniture store, and then moved ‘backstage’ into the warehouse. The welcome had illustrated just how important donations are to the hospice, but made clear that not everything can go straight into the shops. So, the volunteers spent the day sorting and checking donations and getting a real eye opener into a huge part of Cornwall Hospice Care’s work.

The second group of volunteers was actually not a group at all; an individual from a team that have all been coming out separately in order to cover each other’s work. This volunteer was flexible on what she did, and I had the perfect opportunity. Every case on the Macmillan garden support project is different; some need multiple volunteers ready to fight through a forest of brambles, and others need just one or two pairs of hands to get things under control.

So the second event was one volunteer and I spending the day just outside Falmouth pruning, weeding, strimming and helping reclaim an overgrown garden. The couple we were helping had not been able to get out and garden all year due to the impact of the diagnosis, and all the odd jobs had built up. At the end of the day, things were more manageable for them in the garden and they were really appreciative.

These events were one week after the other, and both were helpful and enjoyable in their own way. Both used the employee volunteering scheme; one was a great team building exercise that contributed to a local charity, the other made a difference for a couple at a difficult time. Nice projects for a quieter month!