Staff give 7000 hours of their time to volunteer during pandemic
Furloughed Stansted Airport staff have put their skills to good use in the community during the pandemic amassing more than 7000 volunteering hours since March 2020.
While the airport is operating at a much-reduced capacity, staff from across the airport have rolled up their sleeves and given up their time providing vital services in their communities.
Activities include delivering food to local foodbanks, collecting shopping and delivering medication to the elderly and vulnerable, and organising food and gift parcels for NHS workers. Staff have also assisted the emergency services as Patient Transport Drivers, Community First Responders, Special Constables and at London’s Nightingale Hospital.
London Stansted Airport’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates its deep-rooted commitment to being a good neighbour. We already have a number of initiatives to support communities and provide education and employment opportunities, but I have been immensely proud of how our CSR team has reprioritised our community work during the crisis to make sure we are focused on the issues that matter most to local communities and our people.
Against challenging business and personal circumstances, the support provided to local communities has made a real difference with staff giving up more than 7000 hours of their time to help those who are less fortunate than themselves. I would like to thank the teams and individuals who have been so generous with their time over the last 10 months.
After delivering 20 tonnes of items to local foodbanks in the last three years, the airport kept up its supply drops to the Harlow and Saffron Walden sites during the pandemic. More than 50 trays of food and toiletries surrendered at airport security have been delivered by volunteers since March.
In the run up to Christmas, Security Advisor, Brenda Watt collected 100kg of donations from airport staff for the Uttlesford Foodbank as part of the airport’s Christmas Give & Go initiative. Contributions included mince pies, biscuits, crisps, tinned veg and other long-life items that boosted food packages given out over the festive period. Additional donations were also sent to organisations in Thaxted and Saffron Walden who ensured those identified as particularly at risk still received a festive treat.
Harlow College Principal Karen Spencer, who is supporting the Thaxted scheme, was delighted with the food and gift donations from the airport. “In difficult times lots of people need a bit of TLC, the support from the community, local businesses like the airport, and volunteers has been phenomenal,” said Karen.
Airport Firefighter, Simon Phillips, and Security Officer, Angela Richards, also made sure any Christmas crackers surrendered at airport security didn't go to waste delivering over 500 of them to sites around Harlow.
Back in the spring, Aviation Account Manager, Maddison Broadbent, volunteered with Edible London CIC to help pack emergency food parcels to feed the most vulnerable in North London. Maddi said: “We packed hampers of fresh fruit and veg, plus other essentials for thousands of households each week at Alexandra Palace and Tottenham Hotspur Stadium sites.”
The airport’s environment team also busy delivering airport branded reusable coffee cups and water bottles to charities, Small Acts of Kindness and Mindset Mental Health. Ellice Whyte, from Mindset Mental Health, was over the moon with the delivery. "We thank the airport so much for the donation. We'll be adding them to our self-care packs that are going to some of our amazing frontline NHS staff,” said Ellice.
Lois Robertson, Brand and Marketing Manager, spent some of her furloughed time volunteering with the Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust, helping to put together over 2,000 care packages for staff working in hospitals and clinics throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. Lois, who found the experience to be really rewarding, said: “I met and spoke with so many different NHS staff undertaking a variety of roles, all of whom are working around the clock doing tremendous work."
Airport Engineering Technician, Daniel Humphreys, who is also a qualified ambulance driver, volunteered with St John’s Ambulance responding to 999 calls. He said: "I volunteered as an Emergency Ambulance Crew member with St John’s Ambulance, helping provide support to the NHS ambulance services. I was called out to numerous medical emergencies, from cardiac arrests to strokes, and responded to patients suffering from Covid19.”
Lydia Marquer, Landside Operations Key Controller, took on a unique volunteering role after deciding to take a career break to work on the front-line at the NHS Nightingale Hospital in London. Lydia said: “I worked 12 hour shifts and like all people working on the ward, I had good days and bad days but knowing those patients needed my help is what made me keep coming back.”
We had an amazing response from colleagues who came forward as soon as we put the call out for volunteers. Many have said that they’ve loved being able to give something back and know they’ve made a positive difference to people’s lives during these difficult times. I’ve really enjoyed helping to organise some of these activities and then to hear all the lovely stories about how it’s really helping people.