19 May 2017

Hightown Housing Association

Staff from a charitable housing association operating in Herts, Beds, Bucks and Berks celebrated their organisation’s 50th anniversary by giving back to their local community last month.

More than a dozen colleagues from Hightown Housing Association’s Hertfordshire-based head office spent a day volunteering for Rennie Grove Hospice Care, helping with the support services that underpin the specialist care provided by the charity.

Some staff members volunteered in Rennie Grove’s shops in St Albans andHigh Town Association surrounding areas.  They joined the charity’s teams in their Victoria Street shop, Fleetville shop and Harpenden discount store as well as two of their shops in Hemel, helping to sort through donations, prepare stock for display and interacting with customers.

Others helped to promote the Mayor’s City Sprint Triathlon in advance of the annual challenge on Sunday.  Armed with leaflets and posters about the event, plus Rennie Grove balloons and collection tins, they did an excellent job raising the profile of both the event and the charity in St Albans and Harpenden.

Another group donned gardening gear and helped the charity’s head gardener and long-standing volunteer, Sue Hobley, in the pretty grounds around Grove House. 

Volunteers were all keen to “give something back to the charity”, saying they hoped to “help and learn new skills.”   Kate Benson from St Albans explained her personal motivation, saying: “My previous manager’s husband was supported by Rennie Grove whilst he was ill.”

They returned from their volunteering looking elated and chatting excitedly about their experience. Laura Turnbull from Stevenage had been keen to learn about different types of flowers during her stint in the garden. She found the benefits to be even greater, saying: “It felt good to give back to the community. You don’t realise what happens in a place like this until you get involved.”

Shelagh Dye from Bishop Stortford was part of the marketing team for the day and found that the Mayor’s City Sprint Triathlon was particularly popular in the aftermath of the London Marathon: “We met a lot of interesting characters whilst out and about in St Albans,” she said.  “People wanted to know about the charity too and the whole thing was really worthwhile.”

Their colleague, Sam King, summed up their day: “I think the whole experience was great. It was about sharing with each other and connecting with the community.” 

Fenella Campa, Volunteer Services Officer for Rennie Grove, said: “The day was a great success and a good example of how mutually beneficial volunteering can be.  The volunteers worked really hard to help us but they all felt that they had gained something from the experience too.  We’re very fortunate to benefit from the support of more than 1,500 volunteers across all areas of our work.  We respect and value that support hugely because it’s crucial to the care we offer.  It’s important to us that all our volunteers feel respected, valued and enjoy the time they spend with us.” 

If you or your organisation would like to find out more about volunteering, either as an individual or a company, contact volunteer@renniegrove.org for more information.