Our charity of the year for 2020 is Children’s Hospice South West, which was nominated by our Product Development and Training Manager Neil Thompson.
For more than 25 years, Children’s Hospice South West has been caring for children with life-limiting conditions by providing children’s hospice and professional family support services and are dedicated to making the most of short precious lives.
Some years ago, Neil’s family were able to call upon the wonderful services of the Children’s Hospice based in Wraxall. Neil said, "I am pleased to say that my granddaughter hasn’t had to go to the hospice for a while because she is doing well but many other children aren’t so lucky. What families can enjoy, in their dealings with CHSW is important respite, despite the difficulty of their situation. The staff know how to support parents and how to make children feel special, even when they aren’t feeling well."
Amanda Gallagher, the Corporate Partnerships Fundraiser at Charlton Farm, their hospice near Bristol said : "We’d like to thank Neil for nominating CHSW and the National Friendly team for voting to support us this year. The team have already demonstrated their enthusiasm and I look forward to working with them as the year goes on. CHSW relies almost entirely on voluntary contributions to provide this vital care for more than 500 families from across the South West every year and we couldn’t do this without such generous support from the local business community."
Jonathan Long, Chief Executive Officer at National Friendly, said: "We will be raising awareness throughout the city of Bristol and the South West region for Children’s Hospice South West who have a whole host of fundraising and volunteering activities which we will be involved in this year. In order to achieve this, we will be promoting a strong, caring community environment characterised by a culture of sensitivity, trust, consideration and respect for others."
As members, staff and partners, you can make a direct donation or fundraise with us through this hub to help National Friendly achieve its fundraising target of £10,000 and help support more families in Bristol and the South West receive the very best possible care.
Cabot Primary School is a thriving and successful school in the centre of St Paul’s, Bristol. It serves a diverse community with nearly 90% of its pupils speaking English as an additional language.
Ablaze introduced National Friendly to Cabot Primary School in February 2017, as the school needed help to raise the literacy attainment levels of pupils struggling with their learning/reading.
As part of Ablaze’s Reading Buddy Programme, every week, six of our staff members visit Cabot Primary School during the staff’s lunch hour to read with the children.
Sally Ridley, Primary Partnership Manager at Ablaze said, "Literacy has been the main focus of our primary school interventions. With ever increasing class sizes, working parents and pupils from multi-ethnic backgrounds with English as an additional language, many children are not getting enough one-to-one opportunities to practice their reading and can consequently fall behind."
The Reading Buddy Programme is intended to increase the amount of reading out loud opportunities the pupils have, inspire them to read more and encourage them to gain a love of books.
Neil Thompson, a Reading Buddy volunteer said, "I love doing helpful things outside of work. We have so many rules to our language, I think it’s amazing that anyone learns to read, let alone a child for whom English is not their first language!"
Gemma Davies, the Reading Recovery Teacher at Cabot Primary School, said, "The children enjoy and benefit from the time and attention their Reading Buddies give to them. The added benefit of having a Reading Buddy for these pupils is that it raises their self-esteem."
Lucy Skone, who is the newest Reading Buddy volunteer, said, "I struggled a lot with reading and spelling when I was in primary school, so I know how frustrating it can be as a child who is maybe lagging behind their peers and is desperate to move forward."
"I eventually got some help through my school and now I’ve made a career out of my reading and writing abilities - something that would have been impossible without the extra tuition I received through my own primary school. Being able to give these children the same support and see their love for books grow week on week is incredibly rewarding and I genuinely look forward to every Monday because of it."
Live life and be social
Our Social Club Committee functions to improve the social environment of our workplace by organising staff events.
The Social Club Committee encourages collaborative action and helps to create a sense of togetherness amongst staff.
Dan Yarde, who is the Chair of our Social Club Committee said, "We consider it an important function of the Society, where all of the club members can participate in a wide range of activities and outings, as well as suggest future events. It allows everyone, whatever their position in the company, to mix together and have some fun away from the office."
Social Club members pay £2 a month (the money is taken out of staff wages before tax and matched by the Society) and this money is managed by the Social Committee and used to run the monthly events. By becoming a member you are entitled to get discounted prices for any of our events.
Jessica Gaden, who recently joined National Friendly, said, "This is the first company I have worked for that provides a platform for employees to be able to get together outside of work and enjoy events organised by the Social Committee."
"I have really benefited from the whole experience as it has allowed me to meet people within the company that I may not necessarily deal with on a day-to-day work basis. It also offers activities/day outs that one wouldn’t normally think about doing e.g. go karting or axe throwing!
"Personally, I think it’s a great bonus to have as it gets everyone socialising, and this committee demonstrates that National Friendly looks after their staff members."