Following a hiatus due to the pandemic, GIC joined forces with Marble Arch BID, as part of our Community Programme, to deliver a focused week of volunteering activity in March 2023. GIC volunteers pulled together to support activities reaching across the local community, benefitting over 300 local people through their creativity, hard work and companionship. A total of 53 GIC colleagues volunteered at five events over the course of the week contributing almost 200 hours of their time to diverse causes in the community surrounding GIC’S London office here in Marble Arch.
To start the week, three volunteers headed to the Day Centre at St John’s Hospice carrying boxes upon boxes of kindly donated craft supplies – card, glitter, ribbons, feathers and much more! They worked with patients and Day Centre service users to create wonderfully colourful cards and posters. The event was well attended by 18 participants and it was lovely to see the volunteers each taking a seat with a table of guests and chatting away as they got creative.
Thank you for organising such a wonderful day for our patients! It was so lovely to see everyone enjoying the creativity together and the smiles around the room. Creativity is such an important part of every individual’s wellbeing.
Julie Walker, St John’s Hospice Day Centre Manager
The following morning, a group of 24 GIC volunteers headed to Penfold Community Hub and split into two teams. The larger team undertook the first gardening session of the year, digging up weeds, planting shrubs and removing old herb planters. The smaller team led a games morning, treating older people to a group game of bingo alongside Scrabble, Jenga and more. GIC generously donated plants and refreshments for their session in addition to items at the very top of Penfold’s wish list – a hairdryer and hot plates for cooking community meals.
That afternoon, eith GIC volunteers threw a fun spring party for local children at the Beethoven Centre, featuring classic games such as egg and spoon races and a hoop toss alongside pin the horn on the unicorn, a painting station for decorating plastic eggs and a Velcro dartboard. Every child went home with a chocolate egg and there were plenty of treats on offer at the buffet.
One of my favourite activities of the day was the painting/drawing station where the kids could let their creativity run wild. It was amazing to see the different ideas they came up with, from abstract designs to landscapes and portraits.
Our teamwork and collaboration were evident as we worked towards our goal of making a positive impact on the children. Seeing the happiness and gratitude from those we served reinforced the importance of giving back and the power of human connection. I left the event feeling inspired and motivated to continue volunteering and contributing to our community.
Brian Chan, GIC
For the fourth event of the week, 11 volunteers braved the snow and cold and spent the day at St Mary Magdalene Primary School, transforming outdoor areas with new artwork. Between them the team created a colourful new mural at the entrance to the school nursery, welcoming the children in all the languages spoken by the pupils at home, as well as in the languages spoken by the GIC team. They created colourful splash murals to form a backdrop to water play zones around the school and constructed a new grass edging for a climbing wall. This task involved power tools and colleagues were teaching one another as they shared skills and DIY experience. The group also found time to repaint part of the school hall (a job that had sat on the to-do list for over a year), the head teacher’s office and tidy the school library bus! The team worked tirelessly, never stopped smiling and were completed undeterred by the weather.
To round off the week, the final group of GIC volunteers went above and beyond hosting a coffee morning with Cosmic. Volunteers spent the morning chatting and offering companionship to hospital staff and parents who have children on the paediatric ward at St Mary’s Hospital. This was a hugely meaningful event and offered parents respite during a difficult time. GIC donated cakes, fruit and sandwiches for the coffee morning which went down a treat and was shared across the neonatal ward, paediatric ward, and Cosmic House, where parents can stay on site whilst their child is receiving care in hospital.
We are so very grateful for the work so many GIC colleagues put in to deliver a week of focused, meaningful community action. The volunteers’ kindness and hard work reached so many in the local area. If GIC’s determined local efforts have left you inspired, do get in touch with our community team to see how your Marble Arch team can get involved.