Through the Marble Arch London BID Community Programme, 23 employees from Coller Capital, a private equity firm and BID member, spread Christmas cheer at The Marylebone Project on Thursday 14 December through cooking, corridor painting, computer coaching and Christmas cracker creation.
The Marylebone Project is a social landlord providing residential accommodation, education and employment support to homeless women, as well as a rough sleeper’s drop-in service.
Between them, the Coller Capital team cooked a delicious three-course lunch – upping the challenge by offering 3 different main course options – repainted residents’ corridors, provided support to the charities finance team enabling them to update and streamline their records on Excel, and hosted a breakfast club for several of the women living in the charities resettlement house.
Reflecting on her experiences of the day, Laura Eeles from Coller Capital said,
“As a large team, finding a volunteering project where we could all add value was always going to be a challenge. However, our day at The Marylebone Project more than delivered. The whole team ended the day exhausted, but thrilled with the contribution they had made. Spending time with the women, talking to them about their experiences and challenges was a highlight for all of us as we learnt more about what had bought them to the project – many of the tales were both surprising and humbling. The bingo session in the afternoon had to be my personal highlight – there was plenty of laughter and real competition over the prizes. One woman had the most incredible luck and needed a couple of bags to carry away all her prizes.”
A strong rapport quickly developed between the women, volunteers and the staff creating a fantastic atmosphere – all the staff commenting on what a pleasure it was to have the team at The Marylebone Project. Deborah Whittle, the charity’s Resettlement Manager, spoke about a particular highlight for the women was being able to make Christmas crackers. Many of them hadn’t seen them before and didn’t know about the tradition. Of particular significance was that so many of the volunteers were men. “Most of our women have endured negative relationships with men and so this was a valuable opportunity to teach our women that not all men are bad. It’s a powerful message which all the male volunteers delivered and we are grateful for that, as are our women.”
If you and your team are interested in giving back to the local Marble Arch community, please contact Emily, Community Programme Manager, in the BID team.