To commemorate 25 years of business, SDL pledged to partake in ‘Give and Gain’ – the global celebration of the power of employee volunteering – worldwide!
Driven by the success of SDL Cluj’s previous involvement, several of our offices signed up across Europe and India to realise the potential of this contribution to society. Through our Corporate Social Responsibility scheme, we hope to come together this summer and act as ‘OneSDL’.
Here at SDL Sheffield, we wanted to be as inclusive as possible, so we offered a full week program. Kick-starting this with a vote to garner interest in either skill sharing, being physical/outdoorsy or hands-on and sociable. Working alongside Business In The Community (BITC) we came up with three popular options over five full days:
- Painting in a primary school, in a socio-economically deprived area of North Sheffield
- Sorting at Bluebell Wood (children’s hospice) city centre charity shop
- Gardening at The Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind’s care home in the leafy suburbs.
Over 20 members of staff registered to volunteer during the last week of May and a Team Leader for each day ensured everything ran smoothly, whether creating school-play props, stream pressing clothes or sprucing up railings – and all in our Team SDL jerseys of course!
For individuals that couldn’t get a full day away, Face Equality Day on the 26th May presented a bonus opportunity to engage with ‘Changing Faces’, the disfigurement and anti-discrimination charity where SDL’s David Clayton is also Chairman. Employees could either sign the pledge in the staff room or wander up to Sheffield Cathedral at lunchtime to paint a tile with the service users, to create a huge butterfly for solidarity – a wonderfully meditative way to embrace difference and connect with people away from a computer! Staff from the SDL HQ in Maidenhead also participated by walking 2.5 miles on what was one of the hottest days of the year so far.
Give and Gain week proved to be a wonderful idea and our people hope it will become a regular occurrence. Audrey Lorion (French Translator) said “I’ve always felt that although the company was very generous to give us 5 charity days per year but it’s been difficult to find opportunities.” She added that “initiatives like this week can help fix that. I was excited to hear about the BITC and hope we will be able to partner with them more in the future, precisely to have more pre-arranged volunteering events. Also, it is always great to be able to work with your colleagues outside of the workplace and to meet fellow SDL employees you wouldn’t have an opportunity to work with otherwise.”
One such new colleague is Jemimah Middleton (Translation Intern) who went on to say “First and foremost there is the obvious factor of giving back to the community; the opportunity to help organizations that have limited time and resources and are unable to carry out the work themselves.” Interestingly she adds “However, there is also a benefit to us. Recently I attended a workshop that discussed ‘mindfulness through making’. This emphasized the importance of working with nature, creativity and focusing our energy into one thing. During the charity day, I could see how these points applied. We were outside, working with our hands and fully absorbed in the task, meaning that our minds did not wander to other preoccupying thoughts or worries and that the time just disappeared.”