Forget the Junior Apprentice and think the Zurich Apprentice.
Zurich’s very own Lord Sugar inspired two teams in Zurich’s offices in Swindon on 2 December to go head-to-head in a bid to raise £202 for Swindon and District Samaritans (£202 being the cost of running their Swindon Branch on Christmas Day).
This was one of 55 Zurich Community Trust’s Festive Challenges where staff volunteer their time to help charities, ranging form organising a Christmas lunch to putting up decorations in a Children’s centre.
Under the watchful eyes of Zurich’s own Karen Brady and Nick Hewer, two teams named Zyngergy and Samar InternZ battled it out to see who could make the most money for Samaritans.
It was all kept hush hush about how they intended to raise funds, but it involved a lot of cakes with a few quizzes and an occasional prize thrown in for good measure.
“We wanted to do something fun and raise as much money as we could for Samaritans,” explained organiser, Katie Haylock from Zurich’s Business and IT Change. “The Swindon and District Samaritans offers emotional support to those in crisis. For some Christmas can be a very lonely day and we wanted to do something special to make a difference to those who won’t have families and friends around like most of us do."
?Paul Bentley, a key member of the Swindon and District Samaritans, said Samaritans volunteers don’t have a day off during the festive season. "Christmas and New Year is a busy time for Samaritans. The volunteers will be on duty throughout the festive period, night and day, to support those for whom life just gets too much. Quite simply, themoney raised by the Zurich festive challenge will go directly towards paying the phone bill and keeping the lights on; every £10 raised enables us to answer three calls from people in distress. So on behalf of Swindon and District Samaritans ‘thank you and Merry Christmas ~ mince pie anyone?’"
Pam Webb, Head of Zurich Community Trust welcomes the initiative of this team. “Our staff are renowned for their enterprising fund raising ideas and generosity. This fundraising effort for Swindon & District Samaritans is no exception."
Images from ©Calyx Multimedia, 41, Churchward Avenue, Rodbourne Cheney, Swindon, SN2 1NJ 01793 520131 MOB: 07836 205196
Phoning in – Cecilia Makinde, Richard Jardine & Katie Haylock
Below, the teams ready to fundraise for Samaritans. Top: Ricky D’Gama, Katie Bagley, Joaquin Meneses,Richard Jardine, Peter Smith, Katie Haylock, Alex Owen, Cecilia Makinde,Rebecca Smith, Andrew Halliday, Matt Rowe, Andreea Danieli Andrei.
About Challenge 2011
· Challenge is Zurich’s biggest annual volunteer event. Employee teams get together to complete a one off project which benefits a local voluntary organisation. It’s fun to do and offers managers and staff a great teambuilding opportunity.
· 2011 marks the 22nd year of the Challenge programme. The programme started in Swindon in 1990 and since then a total of 2,386 team challenges have been completed.
· Last year, around 2,000 staff, together with some friends and family, completed 200 Challenges across Zurich locations across the UK.
· Challenge 2011 was launched internally to Zurich staff in conjunction with Capita staff (in Cheltenham and Swindon) on 30th March. Staff from Birmingham, Cheltenham, Hampshire, Leeds, Glasgow and Swindon took up 139 challenges on that day.
· Challenge projects range from re-decoration, to entertaining a group of people (often a BBQ or party), to re-plant or clear a garden area to taking groups out on day trips. Sometimes, it can be providing volunteers for events, fundraising or collecting books.
New for 2011 is Festive Challenge – and 55 projects, ranging from putting up Christmas decorations in a Children’s’ Centre to organising a festive lunch for Multiple Sclerosis sufferers to collecting items for a homeless shelter.
· These challenges will typically be completed by the end of December 2011.
· Staff will meet up with the local charity to agree what needs to be done. Fundraising and asking for donated goods, to carry out the challenge, will then commence. Zurich’s Community Trust will match any monies raised by 50% – and up to 100% for the larger and more expensive Challenges.
Health & Safety have vetted all Challenges and Zurich’s Health & Safety team is on hand if a further review if required.
About the Zurich Community Trust
· The Zurich Community Trust, a registered charity funded by pre-tax profits and donations from Zurich’s staff, provides an umbrella for all Zurich’s community involvement in the UK.
· Zurich Cares and The Openwork Foundation are supported funds of the Zurich Community Trust which employees of Zurich and members of Openwork support with personal donations of time and money.
· The Zurich Community Trust donated around £2.8 million to 631 charities in 2010, helping them to support 90,000 disadvantaged people move from dependence to independence.
· As well as addressing parental drug misuse, the isolation of older people and young people’s mental health through long term programmes the Zurich Community Trust manages and matches Zurich employee’s £567,000 donations, 22,000 hours of business volunteering time including over 200 annual team challenge activities involving around 1,900 staff.
· Since it was set up in 1973 over £60 million has been donated to local communities in the UK and overseas.