Fifty-one airport staff took part in the initiative to coincide with National Volunteers’ Week, dedicating their time, skills and expertise to several community partners and charities across East London, including the boroughs of Barking and Dagenham, Waltham Forest, Newham and Tower Hamlets.
It’s the third year in a row that the airport has contributed to the annual celebration, this year in collaboration with the East London Business Alliance (ELBA), which helped team up the airport with local partners including the First Avenue Urban Wilderness Community Garden in Plaistow, the Barking Food Bank at Abbey Retail Park and Neighbours in Poplar at the St Matthias Community Centre. This year’s contribution of 375 hours exceeded tallies for 2014 and 2015, where the airport’s workforce volunteered a total of 320 hours and 313 hours, respectively.
Fabienne Gress, Corporate Social Responsibility Executive at London City Airport, said:
“Since the airport opened nearly 30 years ago, we’ve grown and developed our relationship with local organisations and charities. Once again, our volunteering fortnight provided an excellent opportunity for staff from all parts of the airport to take time out from day-to-day duties and contribute to good causes.”
Volunteering activities included:
- Gardening and maintenance at the First Avenue Urban Wilderness Community Garden in Plaistow – a haven of green space which is owned by the council but has been run by local residents for the past 4 years, turning an un-welcoming black-spot into a beautiful garden that benefits the wider community. Airport volunteers repaired the garden’s barbeque, cleared shrubs and weeds from the land around the pond, laid down a new stepping stone walkway and created a new ‘Peace Garden’ and seating area.
- Hands-on help at the Canning Town Core Landscapes, a formerly vacant plot of land which has been overhauled to create a green space for the community. Volunteers pitched in with gardening, horticultural plant maintenance and constructing movable containers for trees.
- A day at the Barking Food Bank at Abbey Retail Park, where volunteers took part in a supermarket sweep to replenish stocks of food items. The food bank was set up by Pastor Obi Onyeabor in 2012 and helps feed families and locals in crisis or in need of extra support.
- Organising a Neighbours in Poplar tea party for vulnerable and elderly local residents at the St Matthias Community Centre, where volunteers decorated the hall, prepared lunch, got involved in seated aerobics classes and chatted to attendees.
Alongside these broader volunteer opportunities, this year the airport shared professional skills and expertise to help out local partners.
The airport’s finance department volunteered their expertise during an employability and money skills workshop at Buxton School in Leytonstone, Waltham Forest, and also held a graduate employability and mock interview day in conjunction with ELBA.
The marketing team assisted Rosetta Arts Centre in Stratford in preparing communications materials for its crowd funding campaign and is developing a promotional video for the centre to raise awareness for their planned improvements. Later this summer, airport employees will offer their business skills to the Refugee and Migrant Forum of East London (RAMFEL) in Redbridge, to support its operational efficiencies and client services.
London City Airport encourages volunteering throughout the year and staff have the opportunity to get to get involved with a variety of educational and employment activities, including primary school tours and careers insight visits.