Staff from Thrive Homes provide volunteer boost for community projects
Published by kerri smith for Thrive Homes in Housing and also in Communities
Staff from Thrive Homes joined forces with a group of teenagers to transform a communal garden in South Oxhey.
A year-long initiative to support and inspire local projects has seen staff from Thrive Homes complete 950 volunteering hours in their communities – worth a total of £16,000.
The volunteering drive has been completed during Thrive’s ‘Year of Ambition’, which it declared to mark its fifth anniversary to inspire staff, residents and partners to think bigger and better.
Almost every member of staff at Croxley-based Thrive Homes, which owns and manages more than 4,000 rented homes in Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire, has carried out unpaid work on a range of community projects during the year.
Local initiatives to benefit from their volunteering included a number of landscaping schemes in South Oxhey, such as staff working with the ASCEND charity on its Dig Deep Garden Project, which is turning disused land into a community allotment.
Thrive staff also volunteered in the Mill End Community Centre, at the 9 Lives furniture project in Rickmansworth, at Watford MENCAP, at the Watford Workshop, and at a series of local fairs and festivals.
The ‘Year of Ambition’ run by the not-for-profit housing association included a series of other projects aiming to help and inspire its residents and the wider community. It ran an awards scheme called ‘Go for It’, giving grants to Thrive residents to help them achieve their ambitions, improve their lives or contribute to their community.
Other ‘Year of Ambition’ projects included an Enterprise Week, which introduced students at Watford’s Francis Combe Academy to vital skills needed for their future lives and careers. Thrive also launched a trailblazing
‘Jobs at Home’ social enterprise which offered training and employment to help tenants into work.
These pioneering schemes helped Thrive win awards for Most Innovative Small Housing Provider and Most Innovative Use of Community Engagement in the Housing Innovation Awards 2014.
Zulf Awan, Community Partnerships Manager at Thrive Homes, said the staff volunteering initiative was such a success that it will continue, and forthcoming projects are now being planned.
He explained: “The staff volunteering was so rewarding in a number of different ways. It’s part of our mission to support the local community, so it was fantastic to be directly involved in projects which were of real benefit.
“Many of the staff involved don’t get out of the office very often, so it also was fulfilling for them to get out and meet our residents and partners as well as being involved in this great community work. The feedback from everyone was really positive, and we’re proud our staff have devoted 950 hours of their time to such worthwhile projects.”