All staff are allotted two days a year for volunteering, although recently this has been doubled to support Ukraine relief efforts. Over the course of this year, we have continued to foster and develop relationships with extremely worthwhile causes, with the help of employees across the business dedicating their time.
A great example of this is our Highways and Local Governments (HLG) team, who have built a strong connection with First Love Foundation, a poverty-tackling foodbank based out of Tower Hamlets. This was first fostered by the team when individuals volunteered at the charity during their Christmas appeal in 2019. Since then, people across the division have continued to step forward to support this important cause. Testament to this is the recent task the team undertook, utilising their various skill sets to redecorate and refurbish the First love Foundation office.
HLG have also developed a close relationship with another charity, The Benjamin Foundation, a Suffolk-based charity striving to end youth homelessness. One of their initiatives is Draper House, a home for vulnerable young adults. The team volunteered to make over their garden so the outdoor space could be utilised to its full potential. Jade Pattison, Administrator at Bouygues E&S, an Equans company, recalled the experience:
“My volunteering experience at Draper House was highly rewarding, being part of the team that was able to provide a usable garden for the young people living there knowing it was very much appreciated. The work that Draper House and The Benjamin Foundation are carrying out is really making an impact on the youth of today.”
To further strengthen our relationship with The Benjamin Foundation, individuals across the business took part in a sponsored Sleep Out in Ipswich on the 3rdNovember alongside members of Suffolk County Council, our longstanding client. Mathew Fitzpatrick, Sales Director at Bouygues E&S, an Equans company, said:
“Supporting this local charity is hugely important to our Bouygues E&S Suffolk team and the Suffolk County Council. The Benjamin Foundation highlights the challenges with youth homelessness in the region, with some of the young people they support coming into the UK after being displaced without parents. We are so pleased to be supporting and raising awareness for the Benjamin Foundation’s End Youth Homelessness Campaign.”
Another charity where strong ties have been built is the St Andrews Community Network. Volunteers from the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Station (MRFS) in Liverpool initially began working with the Network’s foodbanks in 2020; packaging, sorting, and registering donations. Two years later and they have continued to return, with the number of volunteers increasing every time.
However, our volunteering work doesn't stop at charities, supporting our clients' end users is also important to us, which is why in September this year, a group of 30 volunteers headed to one of our valued University clients to assist over 750 students move into their new accommodation. Organised by a team of graduates, this was a great opportunity to help new students settle into their new homes as well as strengthen our ongoing relationship with the University. All the volunteers received rave reviews from all on site as well as the new students and their families. Jack Hands, General Management Graduate at Bouygues E&S, an Equans company, said:
“Being present to support so many students move in meant we made it that little bit easier for families and students alike, especially as they weren’t tasked with carrying too many boxes on their own.”
It was not long after this that our graduates took on ‘The Graduate Challenge’, another event that occurs every year in support of a worthwhile charity. Utilising their volunteering days, a team of graduates headed to Snowdonia to raise funds for The Wren Project, providers of one-to-one support for those struggling with complex and chronic autoimmune diseases for those who otherwise may not be able to access adequate psychosocial support. 18 graduates from across the UK, cycled, hiked, and kayaked to complete the Snowdonia Crossing over three days. The Graduate Challenge remains extremely important to our cohort to challenge themselves and raise money for great causes. This year the team raised just over £7,500, with the donations also being matched by Bouygues Construction in the UK. Emma Crawford, General Management Graduate at Bouygues E&S, an Equans company, shared her experience:
"This year's graduate challenge definitely put me outside of my comfort zone, cycling over 80 miles through the Snowdonia national park, as well as summitting Snowdon. The 40 mph winds and torrential rain made the weekend even more challenging but knowing that we were doing it for such a good cause kept us all going and the sense of achievement we all felt when we finished was second to none!"
The instances highlighted above are just a few of the fantastic and significant causes individuals have dedicated their time towards. Supporting local communities and those in need remains a core value across the business and one that we will continue to uphold now and in the future.