Goldsmiths and Lewisham Council launch staff volunteering initiative

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Goldsmiths and Lewisham Council – two of the largest employers in the borough – have joined forces to encourage and enable staff to give back to their communities through volunteering.

Woman using a saw in the foreground, graphic background

Both organisations have formalised policies allowing colleagues to spend a number of their paid working hours per year in this way.

The new policy at Goldsmiths allows staff to spend three working days every year volunteering, either as ‘Civic Days’ with organisations in Lewisham, or elsewhere according to the causes they wish to support. Lewisham Council, meanwhile, is relaunching its own volunteering offer to staff, which allows them to spend up to two paid days per year on voluntary activities.

Goldsmiths and Lewisham Council are formally connected by London’s first Civic University Agreement (CUA), which was signed in 2021. The CUA brought Goldsmiths together with 11 other local anchor institutions including Lewisham Council, providing a framework for enhancing and developing its commitment to the local community.

The Civic Days initiative is one important outcome of the Civic University Agreement, having been identified as a key priority for the signatories from the outset.

Lewisham has a strong culture of volunteering and community support, demonstrated during its year as London Borough of Culture. Fellow CUA signatory Lewisham Local played a key role in connecting volunteers with local organisations and projects during this time, and will continue to offer this vital link going forwards.

Mayor of Lewisham Damien Egan said: “I welcome Goldsmiths offering volunteering opportunities for their staff, and am pleased to relaunch our programme here at the Council. We’ll be encouraging other organisations and businesses in Lewisham to do the same and can link them up with voluntary groups across Lewisham who urgently need support to help them support people in the borough.”

Professor Frances Corner, Warden of Goldsmiths, said: “We’re proud to call Lewisham our home. Our commitment to the borough is part of who we are, and through the Civic University Agreement, increasingly clear in what we do. This latest initiative is an explicit invitation to all of our colleagues to consider how their time and talents could benefit the wider community, and gives them the direct support they might need in order to do so.”

A huge number of local charities and community groups benefit from volunteers' contributions. Lewisham Local, brings together information about many of these organisations, such as the 999 Club in Deptford and the Lewisham Refugee and Migrant Network, and offers a highly valuable starting point for potential volunteers.

Goldsmiths colleagues can find out more about how to get involved on the staff intranet here.