22nd Oct, 2021

Volunteers thanked at garden party event

THE hard work and dedication of volunteers was celebrated during a prestigious event at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens this summer.

Hosted by EmployabilityUK, a charity which recently received a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the garden party was attended by 60 volunteers, trustees and partner businesses.

During the event, held on Friday 20th August, it was announced that current Chair of Trustees Keith Fraser was stepping down as Chair of Trustees and will become a Patron.

Joel Blake OBE is set to take on the role of Chair from September.

Keith said: “After seven successful years of working with volunteers to support the futures of young people, the Queen’s Award is much deserved.

“I am proud to have served EmployabilityUK, and I would like to continue helping.

“Therefore, I am proud to accept the role of Patron and extremely happy to be able pass the baton over to the very capable hands of Joel Blake OBE.”

EmployabilityUK was set up seven years ago and is dedicated to supporting young people from some of the most deprived areas of the country, giving them the skills, confidence and attitude to succeed in the workplace.

More than 1,500 volunteers have supported the charity to date (including over 100 who regularly donate their time and expertise), and feedback shows 100% of respondents would recommend the organisation as a great place to volunteer.

Their programmes include a variety of face-to-face and virtual sessions on everything from confidence-boosting to CV writing, and they’re also part of the Government’s Kickstart scheme, as well as linking young people with businesses willing to act as mentors.

Joel specialises in supporting organisations to become more inclusive and sustainable through his international business and training consultancy, advising policymakers and Government, and holding the roles of President of the Commonwealth Chamber of Commerce and Non-Executive Director for two companies.

“It is an immense honour to be joining EmployabilityUK at a time of such positive change.

“The recent Queen’s Award highlights the tremendous work of our amazing volunteers and wider team to date and is well deserved.

“I look forward to working with them all, to help lead us forward and continue the fantastic impact that we all seek to achieve for others.”

Reflecting on the event, Founder Diane Vernon said: “It was fantastic to get together and celebrate the incredible impact all of our volunteers have within EmployabilityUK.

“The garden party was even more poignant given it was our first face-to-face event since the beginning of the pandemic.

“In that time, we’ve seen a real influx of new volunteers who’ve harnessed the community spirit shown during lockdown and made great use of their time by giving back to others.”

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