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Graft, Gratitude and GADOYT. Volunteering at it’s best.


The benefits of volunteering aren’t a secret; they are plentiful and tend to have a meaningful, positive impact both on a community and for the volunteer taking part. Fundamentally, volunteering is about giving your time, energy and skills freely and can be the perfect vehicle to discover something you are really good at and develop a new skill.

The Interserve Employee Foundation (IEF) is organised by Interserve volunteers who are passionate about improving the lives of people in the communities where we live and work. This includes involvement in regional, national and international community, charitable and volunteering activities, through our employee donating their time  and grant giving schemes.

Kim Pattison, Head of Communications and Public Affairs at Interserve Learning & Employment has shared her story as a volunteer to help with ‘Zain’s Project’, encouraging more teams of employees to do the same:

“I can safely say that when I volunteered to help with ‘Zain’s project’ in September I felt that I gained from all the benefits associated with volunteering; I learned new skills and felt such an enormous sense of fulfillment.  Interserve supports local communities through encouraging employees to carry out activities, champion events and raise funds, urging us to give up to two working days a year to spend in this way through its Give a Day of Your Time scheme, GADOYT .

As an ambassador for the Interserve Employee Foundation (IEF) I’ve actively supported a few events to varying degrees, be that through promotion, management or physically taking part and grafting. And this is what I did most recently for local Sheffield family and their son, Zain. Zain is a four year old boy who has global development delay, profound hearing loss and difficulties with his vision. He also has chronic lung disease, so requires a tracheotomy and is assisted by a suction machine and oxygen to help him breathe.

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“Zain and his family live in a house with a small garden, but one which was overgrown and unsuitable for young children, with his parents’ time totally dedicated to Zain’s care as opposed to pruning and mowing. As Zain has just starting to crawl and move about, a garden was seen to be the perfect space for him to play and develop, and a phone call to Wellchild’s Helping Hands team coupled with a GADOYT team from ILE made this happen. For such a small garden, the transformation was substantial, and in addition to all the manual work, we had the enjoyable brief of installing some sensory stimulation games to assist Zain’s development, so we fitted an over-sized wooden game of noughts and crosses to one fence and an over-sized mirror to the other – which Zain found mesmerising!”

Other tasks involved the use of existing (or quickly learned) joinery skills, as we replaced the entire perimeter fencing, built a new wooden gate and created an enclosed area to hide the wheelie bins. On top of all the manual work, we had the enjoyable brief of installing some sensory stimulation games to assist Zain’s development, so we fitted an over-sized wooden game of noughts and crosses to one fence and an over-sized mirror to the other – which Zain found mesmerising! AM advised as long as it stayed within the £5k fine as i was responsible for the £5k. Hence, Barnsley garden project, Paperworks, BBQ and Zains.”

Speaking at the end of the two days, project manager for Wellchild, Lorna Pedersen said:

“This new outdoor space will be hugely beneficial to Zain and will hopefully have a positive impact on his overall health, as well as enabling him to work on his mobility and gain more independence. It is also the first time in 4 years that his older sister has had a garden large enough to play in, especially with friends.”

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If you want to know more about the Interserve Employee Foundation and the projects they’ve undertaken, visit their Facebook pages https://www.facebook.com/Interserveemployeefoundation


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