A Day to Make A Difference
Contributing locally is a University priority and Finance staff are doing their bit.
‘A Day to Make a Difference’ is a scheme in the University’s Finance department which offers staff opportunities to volunteer. Staff can choose what charity or community project they’d like to help in order to achieve lasting and positive change.
St Crispin’s School
One example of how staff volunteers have helped local people is at St Crispin’s, a special school in south east Edinburgh for children with learning disabilities and autism who have long term additional support needs. The school has wonderful gardens and other outdoor play areas but over the years, as the pupil population has changed, the children are no longer able to be so actively involved in the upkeep of the gardens because of their complex needs. Parents are often overwhelmed with caring and work responsibilities and have no time to help with the garden maintenance.
At St Crispin’s School our Finance staff have cleared woodland, built a basketball net, restored a greenhouse and hosted a craft sale which raised over £200. Clearing the outside space has meant that the children at St Crispin’s can make more use of the learning opportunities created by the committed staff using the open space. At the same time, this improves the children’s physical and mental health and wellbeing.
It was a huge relief when University staff offered to support the school. Coming in all weathers, the volunteers have been a number of times to cut back, clear up, weed and to lay foundations for a green house. The children are once again able to explore the wild meadow, and watch fruit growing in our wee orchard. Paths are now visible and troughs are ready for replanting.
Making a Difference
Finance staff also volunteer at a wide range of projects, including Oaklands School in north Edinburgh. At Christmas, staff were asked for help by CCLASP, which offers support and advice to children with cancer and leukaemia, and invited to help wrap 2,700 dolls, toys, teddy bears and selection boxes and sort them into sacks.
The scheme is in its third year and is getting more popular every year. A key pillar of the University’s Strategic Plan is contributing locally and volunteering is how our department supports that. It’s also great for team-building and staff get a lot of satisfaction from helping others.