Life at CatalystVolunteering

Giving something back

By November 24, 2021No Comments

To support our employees’ passion for giving back to the community, we provide all colleagues with two paid volunteering days per year.
We see the inherent value of supporting communities through donating the valuable time of individual team members, during and outside of business hours.
Among our inspirational colleague volunteers is Charlotte Stamper, Head of External Affairs. Charlotte is one of the enthusiastic and committed coaches who help run youth personal development programmes for Yes Futures, an award-winning educational charity.
We asked Charlotte to tell us how she got into the role, what it entails and what she would say to others considering volunteering.

Could you tell us about the how you came to the volunteering role you do for Yes Futures and what that involves?

I had wanted to find a volunteering role that worked with young people for a while but wasn’t sure quite what to do. I then saw an ex-colleague share a post on LinkedIn from the charity Yes Futures looking for volunteers. The role of a Yes Futures coach is to empower young people to believe in themselves through a personal structured framework that you guide them through over several months, helping them to set and achieve their goals. It seemed to fit with experience I already had of mentoring and informally coaching colleagues and apprentices through my career, but it also offered the additional challenge of working with children and learning something new. As well as the more formal coaching sessions there’s also the opportunity to attend days out with the kids and a residential trip, and frankly it all looked like good fun too!

What are some of the things you’ve learned from your time volunteering with Yes Futures in terms of the people you’ve worked to support and about yourself?

I read a quote a while ago that said ‘Be the person you needed when you were younger’ and it stuck with me. I think what I quickly learnt is that I would have benefitted from a programme like Yes Futures when I was a teenager so why – when the success of a programme like this relies on volunteers –wouldn’t I give up some of my time if I have it to give? It’s still very early in my coaching journey and I remember at the initial training days feeling intimidated by how many of the volunteers seemed to be highly experienced career coaches, worrying I was going to do a terrible job and let the kids down. But it’s become clear that with the support of the charity, and it’s incredibly well-planned and thought through programme, that actually maybe I can help a young person develop their self-confidence and make a difference, however small.

What would you say to colleagues considering taking on a volunteering role?

We’re extremely lucky to have two paid volunteering days a year at Catalyst and it’s great that colleagues are encouraged to use them. Whether you’re looking to use the two days for a small one-off volunteering project or are interested in something a bit longer lasting where you can combine them with your spare time or annual leave, it’s well worthwhile. It’s great to do something completely unrelated to work, home, and even my hobbies which are fun and fulfilling but in a very different way. There are charities crying out for volunteers everywhere, whether it’s your local foodbank or Crisis at Christmas, perhaps your local hospital’s charity could do with a hand painting a bereavement suite; I’d really encourage colleagues to look into what they could do with the days.