This week is M&S are taking part in over 400 different projects which in turn will improve opportunities for young people. This week is National Volunteers Week which celebrates and thanks volunteers and the organisations that they support. It is also an opportunity to encourage more people to volunteer. On Wednesday lunch time I joined 20 volunteers from the M&S city centre store and some of the members of Friends of Knavesmire Primary School to see the work that had been taking place to create a wildlife sanctuary within an overgrown and unused bit of land at the side of the school. By the time I arrived the work had been taking place for a day and a half and the space was looking amazing. As well as the adults working on the area the children in year four were building bird boxes and bird feeders to encourage birds into the area. It is now a wonderful area for the children to enjoy.
All of the volunteers work at the M&S store in York City Center. As well as the staff volunteering their time there were members of the Friends of Knavesmire Primary and also the children. It was a real collaboration and everyone I spoke to was really passionate about making the changes to this space so that it could be used again by the children in school. Having the addition of a Forest School area will be amazing for all of the children for many years to come and everyone really understood how important this area will be for the children.
Some things that I learnt as part of this visit really surprised me. M&S will support nearly 5000 colleagues over this week from 600 stores to support 400 organisations to tackle various projects. The link connecting them all is that they will all be something that will benefit young people. M&S are passionate about improving opportunities for children, at a time where poverty is set to reach a record high and food banks are a typical part of our communities M&S are investing in the community and providing the opportunity for children to have better outcomes. This week is National Volunteers week and it is hoped that more and more people will get involved and do what they can for their communities.
M&S have supported 40,000 hours this week. What a difference that will make.