Every month, Octopus Giving gives recognition to the team or individual who has gone above and beyond by volunteering for charity. This month’s award went to Richard Vranch, Area Sales Manager for Octopus Investments. He’s been given a £500 cheque to donate to the charity, or charities of his choice.
Tell us about your volunteering experience
“I’ve worked for Octopus for around four years now, and during this time I’ve volunteered for a number of charities associated with Octopus Giving. I’ve also attended a few events organised by The Funding Network which organises live crowdfunding events that help to highlight charities and non-profit organisations.
“Through the Funding Network, you have exposure to individuals and groups that run what are typically quite small charities. The thing that sticks with you is how passionate they are for those causes and the lengths that they go to, to make a difference. And one of these events led to me writing a delivering a training seminar for the team at London Reclaimed.”
What is London Reclaimed?
“London Reclaimed is a charity that helps young people who would otherwise struggle to step up into employment. They provide job-specific training, employability skills, tailored mentoring and paid work to 16 to 25-year-olds in South East London.
“London Reclaimed runs a paid trainee programme for young people in two charity-owned businesses: Goldfinch Furniture and the Lumberjack Café. The Goldfinch Furniture workshop lasts for 12 months, while the Lumberjack Café offers a six-month programme. After the programme ends, the charity helps participants to transition into their next job, course or training.
“Training and mentoring young people takes skill, time and money, and each business cannot fully cover the full costs of employing the trainees. So, London Reclaimed subsidises their salaries and training costs to enable each business to run smoothly and to help the businesses full-time staff get their young trainees up to an employable standard.
“Finding out about the work London Reclaimed did really hit home with me, not just in terms of what they do but also how they’re doing it. I felt like I had something that I could add, so I had a couple of meetings with the founder, and it went from there.
“The work that they were doing resonated with me. It had a commercial aspect to it and filled a gap that I feel a lot of other charities miss. I also liked the fact it’s close to home and is addressing some issues that the UK’s current education and apprenticeship system doesn’t really tackle.”
Have you got a message for anyone who hasn’t volunteered before?
“It can potentially be a little daunting at first. I think a lot of people like the idea of volunteering, but just don’t know how to get involved. It’s a good idea to speak with someone that’s been involved in volunteering and ask them to help. That way it’s less of a jump from wanting to do it and actually doing it. Regardless of that, my greatest piece of anyone considering giving up some of their time to a worthy cause is to just do it.”