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An amazing first year for Amazon Filters!


“It’s been such a good initiative; I’m so pleased that we launched it at the beginning of the year” Ruth Pappadakis, HR Manager at Amazon Filters


Ruth Pappadakis and Julie Hoad (Marketing Executive) of Amazon Filters - one of Europe’s leaders in the manufacture and sale of gas and liquid filtration solutions - look back on the first 12 months of corporate volunteering with CMPP.


The Camberley business has used the time since lockdown to re-think its employment practices and has adopted a hybrid working model for many of its 240 staff. For Ruth, the culture and people at Amazon Filters are always uppermost in her mind. The challenge of bringing people together who are spending more time apart is one faced by many local businesses.


Pre-covid, Amazon Filters were well-engaged with the community: it hired apprentices, got involved with national fundraising days and supported local schools, although there was no formal corporate volunteering scheme as such.


‘Corporate volunteering is a way of bringing people together’

The Amazon Filters board had an open mind from the beginning about the potential value of volunteering. Julie was attracted to CMPP because it offered a local one-stop shop for corporate volunteering service.

The clarity with which Tracy, Paul and Rachel explained the corporate volunteering concept and how it worked in practice impressed them all greatly. The directors were as one that volunteering would be good for staff, good for business and good for the community.


In its first year Amazon Filters has taken part in five Community Action Days:

· Gardening at Reg’s Garden

· Painting at Sandringham Infant Academy

· General maintenance at Phyllis Tuckwell

Hospice

· Beach clean at Littlehampton

· Leaf clearing at Frimhurst Family Home



In their first year, 47 volunteer days have been taken by staff with each person getting two paid days annually. Ruth says the engagement levels have been beyond her initial expectations. She said it helped that one of the directors was on the first volunteering day at Reg’s Garden in Farnborough which clearly set the tone!


'A done for you' service

‘The planning and logistics for each of the days has been impeccable’, says Ruth. Participants’ names are sent to CMPP who do the rest. She’s never had a grumble from anyone about event organisation.

Regarding the experience of the volunteer days themselves, Julie says: ‘They are all highly practical and focussed on doing stuff. Whether that’s painting, cleaning or gardening, all of the activities are valued highly by the beneficiaries.’


For Amazon Filters, the benefits are at an interpersonal level as Julie explains. She works a hybrid role, doing 2 days a week in the office. She used one of her 2 volunteering days, alongside 14 other colleagues, painting at Sandringham School.

Julie knew about a third of her co-workers on the day. ‘With brush-in-hand I painted but also chatted to the person next to me – Laura.


We didn’t talk about work. Instead, we bonded over this shared experience and what it meant to us. I feel I know Laura really well now because of the extended time doing a non-work task. And we still talk this day whenever we meet! You just can’t do that in a work context and you definitely can’t get a rounded perspective of someone in a structured team building environment.’

Ruth believes that many of the benefits enjoyed as a CMPP partner would have been impossible to measure at the start. They are about how people feel about themselves and their relationships with colleagues and their employer.


There are business benefits too, otherwise the directors wouldn’t have signed off on another year. These include:

· Increased interest and engagement in corporate volunteering

· Building interpersonal relationships and relationships across teams

· Presenting a more human side of Amazon Filters to the outside world

· A progressive staff benefits package, more than a pension and cycle to work scheme.


A recent new member of staff at Amazon Filters specifically mentioned the corporate volunteering programme as a key reason influencing his application decision.


After a successful first 12 months, what does year two hold for Amazon Filters?

Ruth and Julie agree year 1 was about bedding-in and familiarisation. With Tracy and the CMPP team they are now planning year 2.


If you would like to know more about partnership opportunities with CMPP call 0300 777 2019 or email hello@cmpp.org.uk.


Article written by Nick Shrimpton from Sixth Sense Marketing

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