Highlights of our Employee Volunteering Programme5 November 2019VolunteeringNorwood’s Employee Volunteering Programme has gained the support of many corporate partners. Find out how their staff are coming together to take part in a variety of volunteering opportunities in Norwood’s services.3M at Station RoadNorwood’s supported living service in Station Road, Hendon, is home to five adults. The home has a real family feel and the people living there love to do things together. This, however, does not always extend to tending to their garden. In fact, before a visit from seven 3M volunteers, the Station Road garden was in need of a little bit of love and attention. In September, armed with a £200 donation from 3M, staff, residents and volunteers came together to transform the space – creating a raised flowerbed, a vegetable and fruit patch, and a new feature area for the residents to relax and enjoy this inspiring team effort.A Ravenswood round-upThe past few months have seen the usual flurry of projects involving our corporate partners at Ravenswood, Norwood’s collection of residential accommodations in Berkshire.In August, 25 volunteers from Johnson & Johnson’s nearby offices in Pinewood, spent the day in the grounds of The Firs and Tager buildings, transforming an old disused pond, sanding and staining the furniture and generally making the areas ready for anything from family barbecues to residents’ relaxation.In early September, volunteers from Johnson and Johnson returned, this time transforming the lawn area of another one of our Ravenswood homes, the Orchard, creating a rock feature garden with a seating area for the people we support to use at their leisure. One of the 11 volunteers on this project, Gurpreet Gill, said: “A massive thank you from everyone at Johnson & Johnson. Everyone was so welcoming and the feedback from all my colleagues has been hugely positive and everyone thoroughly enjoyed seeing the transformation of the area we were working on.”On the same day, a group of 12 volunteers from Micro Focus visited Ravenswood for the first time to help rejuvenate the garden in Tikvah. The team restored the garden furniture, sanded and stained wooden fences and cleared and planted bright and colourful flowerbeds. The team enjoyed the experience so much they asked to return to finish a job they were unable to complete. Micro Focus volunteer Anita Holley, said: “Everyone was so positive and really felt passionate about the day, the charity and doing more with Norwood, so I am not surprised some of the team are keen to come back and finish the garden.”The following day, a group of 16 Johnson & Johson volunteers got their boots on to help the Stables team at Ravenswood with mucking out, washing and scrubbing down the floors, cutting back overgrowth around the school and laying new matting to create a wheelchair-friendly path into the school. The work which the team completed will make a huge difference.Toward the end of September, two more projects took place at Ravenswood, with 18 volunteers from 3M’s Bracknell office getting busy in the grounds of Pamela Barnett and Beiteinu, and volunteers from BP and Johnson & Johnson coming together to revamp the garden at The Green. A number of The Green’s residents came out to greet the team, thoroughly excited to see their visitors at work. In the afternoon, residents and volunteers came together for a wonderful lunch, prepared by staff at The Green.Well done and a huge thank you to all of our incredible corporate volunteers!Mounting a military operation in Ravenswood’s kitchensSeven Ministry of Defence chefs spent an “eye opening” day working at Norwood’s Ravenswood Village in Berkshire, home to 111 people with learning difficulties.During a tour of the sprawling site incorporating an educational session at the Ravenswood café, the MoD cooks learned about the many challenges in catering for residents — nutritional requirements, avoiding choking hazards and adhering to kashrut laws among them.“I had no idea how complicated it would be,” one of the MoD visitors remarked.Led by Sergeant Tony Legg, the team then took over the kitchens of two of the residences, Tova and Farmhouse, to prepare dinner for staff and residents, who enjoyed a Mediterranean hot pot with buttered peas and honey roasted carrots, followed by chocolate marble cake with custard.The MoD chefs left with “genuine respect” for the work of Ravenswood’s staff and a greater appreciation of those living with learning difficulties. For Norwood, it was another example of how the wider community can support its services.