The People First Engineering Team Dig in to Volunteering Project
At People First, our mission is to improve lives by making work more engaging, rewarding, and fun. But we also want to extend this ethos beyond the workplace and into the community. This was the motivation behind a recent volunteering project, where a team of software engineers breathed new life into an outdoor space used by children at the City Hospital, Nottingham.
The Children’s Development Centre (CDC) provides specialist care, information, and support for kids with developmental impairments or disabilities, including physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and speech and language therapy. On average, between 40 and 50 children visit the centre each day, supported by 80 members of staff.
The CDC is blessed with a large outdoor space where children can play, relax, and socialise. But with staff stretched to the limit, the centre struggles to find the time or money to maintain such a large garden. As a result, it had become overgrown and unfit for purpose.
Enter the People First team. Organised through Nottingham Hospitals Charity, over the last few months, more than 60 members of staff have dedicated a full day’s work to help rejuvenate the garden and surrounding area, working in squads of around eight. The project started with basic maintenance work – pruning, weeding, cleaning, sweeping, and painting. This cleared the way for the second phase, where we injected some much-needed fun and colour into the garden, including a mud kitchen, seating, play areas, and a vibrant new wall mural.
Three months on and the garden is completely transformed. What was once a rather tired looking space is now bursting with colour and life, giving the children that visit the CDC an environment that is stimulating and fun.
The power of this project cannot be underestimated. Hospital visits can be a stressful experience for children, in what is often an unknown environment. Having an outdoor space to enjoy makes the experience so much more enjoyable, according to Michelle Gale, Therapeutic Support Team Worker at the CDC:
“The new space is brilliant for the kids. It gives them somewhere to let off some steam and boost their confidence through new and exciting activities. To be honest, it’s great for us too, as we now have the perfect space for outdoor therapy sessions.”
For the People First team, it has been a fantastic opportunity to give something back to the community, as well as a great way to bond as a team, as Clare Moore, Head of Marketing at People First, pointed out:
“Volunteering at the Children’s Centre has been a fantastic experience for all involved from the People First Software Engineering team. Not only has it been a great chance for the teams to get together outside of a work setting, it has really highlighted the great work being achieved by the hospital staff. Thank you to the Children’s Centre team for their hospitality, we look forward to future volunteering efforts.”