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BMW Group UK: the ultimate volunteer driving force

One of the perplexing things about paid volunteering schemes is that whilst they reflect the admirable ethical purposes of progressive companies, for a variety of reasons many struggle to capture the enormous potential they offer. In consequence, the percentage take up of volunteering opportunities by staff is often low.

In fact, a study in October 2020 estimated that UK corporates give employees around 11 million days of paid volunteering time per year: equivalent to a massive £2 billion in annual good deeds. But the estimated actual engagement in employee volunteering is thought to be just 14.3%. In other words, over 200 million hours of corporate volunteering go to waste every single year in the UK.

In contrast, BMW Group UK have the happy knack of turning great intentions into positive, dynamic action. Since joining CMPP in the summer of 2015, few corporate Members have been involved in as many Community Action Days as they have. In the past year alone, almost 250 BMW volunteers contributed nearly 1000 hours to good causes!

For almost a decade, their volunteers have been doing just about anything to help out in the community: you name it, BMW Group UK have done it! And that means more gardens gleaming than Ground Force, more transformations than Titchmarsh, more ditches dug than Dimmock!

The impressive list of fantastic achievements includes:

  • Ground clearance at many local schools - Greenfields, Cove, Manor, Grange, Oakwood, Potley Hill, Fernhill, Henry Tyndale, Wavell, Southwood...

  • Building a stage at Samuel Cody School, a greenhouse at Hawley Community Garden, an exercise track at Sandringham Infants, African Huts at Guillemont Infants, a 'Jubilee Jungle' at St Michael's in Aldershot...

  • Renovation of the youth centre at Upper Hale, the wellbeing centre at Frogmore, a balancing pond in Frimley, the workshop at Yateley Industries...and so on!

One appreciative local Head teacher had this to say about the efforts of BMW Group UK volunteers:

'Brilliant, thank you for all your hard work - the playground looks great! And the outside learning area for year 2 looks amazing. You have all worked so hard. I have never seen the school look so good. What an amazing job! The children loved watching you...very inspiring for them. A big thank you to you all!'

In addition to undertaking these and so many other Corporate Volunteering Day challenges, BMW Group UK have helped:

  • clean the beach at Littlehampton

  • maintain Reg's Garden

  • and who could forget the thousands and thousands (and thousands more!) leaves they've cleared at Frimhurst!

They've been enthusiastic supporters of numerous CMPP fundraising and social events, including quiz nights and Twilight, participated actively in many networking events, and found time to donate brilliant prizes to every CMPP raffle and Xmas gift collection... Phew! An wonderful example of productive partnership working in action for mutual benefit.

So, Gina Finn, Media and Events Project Manager at BMW Group UK, how have you done it?

'When BMW UK arrived at our new site in Farnborough back in 2014, it was incredibly important to make sure we connected with the local community. Joining CMPP allowed us to learn about the needs in Rushmoor and how we could help and support local people.

We have seen a fantastic uptake in volunteering. Backed by our generous volunteering policy, which allows employees to take up to 2 x local volunteering days a year, we encourage all our employees to support a project and give back.'

Gina's enthusiastic commitment is driven by a clear-sighted understanding of the twin-engined power of volunteering as a force for good - for the community and for her staff:

'A lot of our employees use the organised volunteering days as team days. Our workplace is now more flexible, with many staff working more regularly from home.

The days allow people to re-connect with their teams and do something good for the community at the same time: it’s really a win-win situation.

CMPP is instrumental in sourcing worthwhile community projects.

We don’t have either the time or the resources to find suitable volunteering projects ourselves, so CMPP does it for us. We also have peace of mind that the activities are properly checked out.

Community is very important to employees at BMW Group UK, and we look forward to seeing that relationship grow in the future, thanks to the support of CMPP.'

And we look forward to continuing our volunteering adventure with you, Gina, and your wonderful colleagues at BMW Group UK, for many years to come!


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