Civic Days initiative generates over 50 days of community support

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Goldsmiths colleagues have given more than 350 hours, or 50 working days, to good causes since the launch of a staff volunteering scheme last year.

Since February 2023, Goldsmiths has offered its staff the opportunity to take up to three additional days of paid leave for volunteering each year. The initiative is gathering momentum, and in March 2024, passed the milestone of 350 hours of volunteering. This equates to more than 50 full working days given back to good causes.

Three volunteers working at a pond, with a supervisor

Members of Goldsmiths' Estates team volunteer at Ladywell Fields

Civic Days was launched in partnership with Lewisham Council, which now offers a similar provision for volunteering to its staff and is a key partner in Goldsmiths’ Civic University Agreement (CUA). Volunteering can be arranged with any organisation, although colleagues are encouraged to use that time locally, within Lewisham.

This helps us to connect in ways we would normally not connect with some parts of the community. It helps us develop and sustain our environmental, social and governance impact in our community and to understand the various ways in which we could help make the community better.

Staff volunteer

As part of the Civic Days initiative, a number of Goldsmiths departments have taken the opportunity to organise volunteering sessions together, bringing teambuilding benefits as well as having a direct impact on the local community.

Colleagues in the Research and Knowledge Exchange team have taken part in a river cleanup; the Estates team in a helping to clean up and restore a local nature reserve; and members of the People and Organisational Development team supported the Lewisham Donation Hub for two days in the run-up to Christmas.

Taking some civic time is a great way to engage with the local area, and to learn more about it whilst giving something back. It’s been amazing to see the response across the university to being given the time to volunteer locally, and the different ways in which people are making this time count.

Dr Michael Eades, Head of Civic Engagement

Participants in the scheme have been hugely positive about their experiences, both in terms of the insights they gained as individuals and in seeing how Goldsmiths is making meaningful contributions to the community. As one volunteer said: ‘To give back and to learn and to truly be a civic university, we need this initiative’.

Colleagues can find out more about volunteering on the Goldsmiths intranet.