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How we’ve supported our communities so far this year

June 2023

At OneFamily, our communities are at the centre of everything we do. As a friendly society, we support charities and good causes in any way we can, not just financially!

For that reason, everyone who works at OneFamily gets three volunteering days every year to help our communities, whether that’s through hands-on gardening work, helping young people get started in their careers or anything else that makes life a little easier for other people.

Here’s how’s those volunteering days have been spent so far this year and some of what we have planned for the rest of 2023.

Giving young people a boost in life with Spear

One of our long-term charity partners, Spear helps young people overcome the challenges they face and build develop the skills they need to succeed in their chosen career, helping to prepare them for their for working life and feel confident applying for the roles they want.

Every year we work with Spear to help young people get ready to join the workforce.

In February and March, it was time for our colleagues Philippa, Alison, Rob, Sam, Zarina and Frankie to do their part in helping young people learn vital job interview skills to help them with their job hunting.

Promoting sexual health with Terrence Higgins Trust

The leading HIV and sexual health charity in the UK, Terrence Higgins Trust aims to promote good sexual health and make it accessible to everyone, without judgement or stigma.

The charity campaigns for relationship and sexual education to be taught in schools and funds HIV services, which provide testing for sexually transmitted infections. It runs a variety of community projects to support people living with HIV, runs a sexual health helpline, offers counselling and arranges peer support programmes.

Over the course of a few weeks, 34 of our team members gave the charity a hand by helping put together around 4,000 sexual health packs.

The packs will be given out in local pubs and clubs in Brighton. They contain a condom, lubrication and a leaflet on PrEP - a treatment that can stop the HIV virus before the infection takes hold.

The packs are part of Terrence Higgins Trust’s mission to stop new HIV cases and deaths in the UK by 2030.

volunteering terrence higgins trust

Raising awareness about homelessness with The Clock Tower Sanctuary

The Clock Tower Sanctuary is the only drop-in day centre in Brighton offering support to homeless people aged 16-25. It provides young people with everything from hot meals and showers to CV writing and mental health support.

In March, some of our colleagues took part in this year’s Big City Sleepout, where they braved the cold to sleep overnight on the Brighton seafront.

The Big City Sleepout raises money to help homeless youth and to make more people aware of the conditions they’re living in.

OneFamily's Kate Jefferies, Sara George-Sturmey, Dylan Holkar and Steve Ferrari joined many other brave fundraisers from all walks of life camping out on the i360 terrace.

Steve mentioned they missed the worst of the weather, but that “it was still chilly and soggy with rain in the very early hours. It was a great experience, fun, and I’d recommend it to anyone”.

Volunteers participating in this year’s Big City Sleepout raised an incredible £32,000 for the Clock Tower Sanctuary, which was more than double the charity’s original goal.


Helping tackle the cost-of-living crisis in Brighton and Swindon

In response to the cost-of-living crisis, we’ve given £5,000 to the Swindon Food Collective and £2,000 each to the following charities in Brighton and Hove:

These charities are doing vital work in their communities by giving out food, fuel vouchers and other essential items to those hit hardest by the cost-of-living crisis.

Providing companionship with Age UK

Last year, we helped Age UK host Christmas pub lunches for elderly residents of Brighton and Hove, providing food and goodie bags. Some of our colleagues attended one of the events and had a great time socialising with the guests and hearing about their life stories.

This year, Age UK teamed up with the Hangleton and Knoll Project team to organise board game socials. One of our team members, Martin Ward, attended one of the sessions in February to re-establish contact with the guests he’d met in December.

“I believe we should all make time to meet up with and assist the elderly in any way we can” Martin says, and mentions he’ll continue to attend the new Coffee & Chat group event that will start taking place in June.

Preparing children for the future with IntoUniversity

Following up from last year’s workshop, we’re continuing to work with IntoUniversity to help prepare young people for higher education.

IntoUniversity supports young people from disadvantaged areas with further and higher education, employment and work-based training. Their mission is to help break cycles of disadvantage and help these young people have more opportunities for their future.

This year, Dom, Philippa, Olly, Carl and Josie have taken on the role of mentors for students who attend IntoUniversity learning centres. They’ve been guiding them through the university application process, as well as helping prepare them for university life.

What’s coming up this year

We’re only halfway through the year, so we still have lots of volunteering planned for the rest of 2023, with more to be added to our calendar.

We’re looking forward to helping out at the Stanmer Community Garden in August, packing more sexual health kits for Pride Month with the Terrence Higgins Trust and hiking to raise money for the homeless with The Clock Tower Sanctuary. We’ll also be helping out at the Raystede Centre for Animal Welfare, doing some vital handiwork to maintain its 43-acre site!

Throughout the year, we’ll continue to work with RedSTART to help primary school children to learn about managing money, and with Spear to help young people get into work or education.

Watch this space!

You may also be interested in:

Giving kids a head start with RedSTART

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OneFamily takes action against hunger in our local communities

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OneFamily’s volunteering and charity support in 2022

In 2022, more than 100 OneFamily employees volunteered at 36 different events, supporting 14 charitable causes.

What does it mean to be a “mutual society”?

As a OneFamily customer, you have a say in how we spend our profits and which charities we support both financially and practically.