PublicA Forest of Dean District Council
The Forest of Dean District Council is part of Publica, a unique not-for-profit partnership of four councils delivering more locally by working together.
The councils work together through Publica to share skills and resources which enables them to deliver more for local communities, residents and businesses.
As part of their employee benefits offer, all Publica staff are given two days a year where they can use work time for volunteering, either as an individual or as part of a team, to help some of the great local charities and community groups running across their districts.
Lena Maller, Community Delivery Lead for the FoDDC says:
‘Employer supported volunteering (ESV) is really important and really powerful. It's part of our way of giving a bit more back to our communities.’
Lena and her colleagues at the Forest of Dean District Council work closely with a local charity, Forest Voluntary Action Forum (FVAF) and their volunteer coordinator Deb Cook, plus their local community builders to identify and deliver ESV in a way that best supports their local community.
In June, colleagues from the Community Wellbeing Team based in Coleford got together to redecorate the Youth Club in Blakeney.
Thanks to the relationship that Lena and her colleagues have with FVAf they knew that the club was in need of some volunteering help. Using their paid time off for volunteering, they redecorated the whole youth club building which hadn’t been done for many years.
Charis Simpson, Community Builder said, “The building was looking very dirty. Like many projects, the youth club stopped in Covid and is just getting back up and running now, the number of attendees is slowly increasing. Now the club has a fresh lick of paint, it will hopefully bring more people in and help the young people to feel valued, as well as the amazing volunteers who keep it going.
We all had a great day transforming the youth club, and it brought us a real feeling of accomplishment. It was really good to have a break from our usual roles to get together as a team and make a difference.”
Emma Nice, Community Support Officer, said, “I really enjoyed it! It was great to be away from my laptop, spend time with the team and feel like I’ve made a real positive impact!”
Chris Fordham, Trustee of Blakeney Youth Club, said,
“I want to say a massive thank you on behalf of the youth club and the whole community for the work that the team carried out this week. We are so grateful for all the hard work you put in and the results have been really warmly received on social media.
We're really looking forward to seeing what the kids make of it this week. We still can't believe how great it looks!”