Queen Street Branch

21 November 2014

Wales Action Week 2014

James Harper, Principality Building Society’s Local Marketing Support Manager, blogs about Principality’s involvement in Wales Action Week, organised by Business in the Community.

Principality Building Society was extremely proud to be one of the co-sponsors of Wales Action Week 2014, which got businesses from across Wales helping a number of different community groups and charities.

We are massive advocates of staff volunteering in the community and the week provided us with an opportunity to revisit some of the groups we had previously helped this year along with some new ones too.

But what did that mean for us and our staff?

On Monday, we led a double beach clean-up in partnership with the Surfers Against Sewage charity to remove lots of marine litter from Cefn Sidan in Pembrey and Aberavon Beach. Both beaches got a visit from us in early October and we knew with all the recent storms and high tides that there would be lots more. A team of students from Neath Port Talbot College once again joined us in improving the beaches for the local community.

On Tuesday we got to meet some inspiring young people as part of an employability workshop with the Llamau charity in Cardiff. They got to ask us all about getting set for job interviews and our staff shared tips on researching companies, potential interview questions and on controlling nerves.

Wednesday involved another double activity – not a beach this time but school gardens. Staff attended St Mary’s School in Canton and Ysgol Cynwyd Sant in Maesteg. The task in St Mary’s involved lots of weeding, as the pupils are planning to create a muddy kitchen in 2015. In Maesteg, staff worked with the school teachers to help create a sensory garden – with herbs being planted, bird feeders being put up and lots more.

On Wednesday evening, we also attended a very special event at Ridgeway Golf Club in Caerphilly. In conjunction with Golf Development Wales we have sponsored a number of British Sign Language classes combined with golf lessons for deaf and hard of hearing children. We have been working with British Sign Language throughout the year for a range of projects, including getting members of our staff trained in sign language, and this did not disappoint. It was another fantastic event and we hope to have inspired the next Rory McIlrory to take up golf!

On Thursday we joined up with YMCA Housing Association in Cardiff to hold another employability workshop. We took a few of the residents through our Customer Consultant job descriptions – identifying the key skills needed. This was followed by some interview preparation exercises and then mock interviews in our head office. They were brilliant and it was a really rewarding exercise for our staff.

Friday was another day in the great outdoors – helping a Brecon Beacons National Park Ranger repair upland pathways near Grwyne Fawr reservoir. It was certainly hard work but the scenery more than made up for it.

Our week in numbers:

  • 8 projects in 5 days
  • 30 staff volunteers
  • 19 community volunteers
  • 172 hours of volunteering

It was great to be able to help so many different people, and we look forward to building on these relationships and getting involved further. I’d like to thank all those involved in the projects, most importantly the individuals from the charities and community organisations. It’s been inspiring, thought-provoking and a lot of fun. The feedback from the staff involved has been really positive and they are all eager to help more.

Looking at the outcomes of the week, we’ve helped improve natural environments with the activity on the beaches and in the Brecon Beacons, inspired some young gardeners, boosted the employability skills of young people and hopefully supported future golfing stars. We’ve made a lot of new friends along the way and our employees have certainly further developed key skills like team work and communication.  

We can’t wait to get started on our next project! To keep up to date with our community projects, ‘like’ our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/principalitybuildingsociety

Published: 21/11/2014