Colleague Volunteering and Community Support Policy
Last Updated 2 Feb 2021 in Community
We encourage all colleagues to spend time volunteering with local community groups, and offer colleagues up to 22.5 hours paid time to do this per year. This policy will help you work out how you can use your hours.
Key points covered:
Community and school partnerships
You’ll find more information about volunteering on the Community pages of the intranet.
Our Society Purpose is to be a successful consumer co-operative working toward creating a better, fairer world to enhance the lives of our members, colleagues, customers and the communities that we serve. We have four core values that underpin our Purpose and guide the way we work; Democracy, Openness, Equality and Social Responsibility.
At its heart a true co-operative organisation is socially responsible and effectively engaged with the communities it serves. Through our Social Responsibility Value, we ensure that we reflect our responsibilities to the wider community in the way we conduct our business
As a co-operative, supporting local charities and good causes in the areas we trade is fundamental to our mission to be a successful co-operative. The Society supports colleagues who undertake volunteering work in their local community. This policy provides information on the principles and guidelines for colleague volunteering, fundraising, and community support.
This policy primarily applies to all employees (whether employed on a full-time, part-time, fixed term or permanent basis). Failure to comply with this policy is likely to result in disciplinary action.
This policy does not form part of any contract of employment and the Society may amend it at any time.
The policy covers the following core areas of community support
- Colleague Volunteering
- Community and School partnerships
- Disaster relief
Colleagues are entitled to a maximum of 22.5 hours of paid volunteering time each year (pro-rata), known as ‘community hours’. Community hours can be carried out within a colleague’s normal hours of work, this time is to perform volunteer work with local charities and good causes in the areas where we trade.
Community hours may only take place outside of normal working hours where the colleague has obtained prior agreement from their line manager. In those circumstances, those community hours can be taken as time off in lieu as agreed with the colleague’s line manager.
Colleague community hours include any community activity that may be carried out on or off site, but that clearly takes the colleague away from their normal operational role. Fundraising, or raising awareness can also be recorded as community hours.
Community activities include but are not limited to, community care work; environmental work and conservation projects; fundraising for community projects or charities; helping vulnerable members of the community and the administration of public events. Colleagues may perform their community hours by undertaking activities linked to local community partnerships supported by their site or through existing links colleagues may already have with a local group.
Time-off requests related to public duties are covered in the Special Leave Policy and therefore should not be considered under this policy. Please refer to the Special Leave Policy for further details.
Colleagues must discuss the volunteering activity with their line manager and agree the dates and times they will be away before undertaking any activity.
To submit volunteering hours or find out more information on how to volunteer please visit the volunteering page on Colleagues Connect. Colleagues can also use volunteering websites to find local opportunities or talk to the Society customers and members.
Whilst the Society will always encourage colleagues to volunteer in line with this policy where possible, the Society does have the right to limit volunteering hours allocation and the scope of volunteering projects in line with business requirements if necessary.
Fundraising can also be recorded as community hours. The fundraising activity must be pre agreed in advance with the colleague’s line manager and the money raised must be in aid of, and donated to, a Society related charity as part of the Society’s Community strategy (National approved charity or agreed charity partner). Only the hours given on the day of the event, and worked, are recorded as community hours. 100% of the funds raised must be donated to the Society related charity.
Examples of fundraising activities colleagues are currently undertaking as formally recorded ‘community hours’ include marathons or other such personal challenges for agreed Society charity partners (local or those legacy charities). For marathons, only the hours given on the day of the event will be recorded as ‘community hours’ (up to a maximum of 10 hours for a full marathon and 5 hours for a half marathon plus any travelling time to the events). Training for these events cannot be recorded as community hours. Organised counting of Poppy Appeal Funds or other Society supported charity collections can also be formally recording as community hours.
Whilst the Society will always encourage fundraising in line with this policy where possible, the Society does have the right to limit fundraising and the scope of fundraising projects in line with business requirements if necessary.
The Society recognises that colleagues may wish to undertake personal fundraising activities which are not linked to a Society related charity as part of the Society’s Community strategy (approved charity or agreed charity partner). It is important that colleagues understand that such personal ventures cannot be formally recorded as ‘community hours’ for which the colleague receives pay.
Community and School Partnerships
Our support for local communities, education and developing young people, ensures that we involve members and colleagues in supporting issues that are relevant to where they work, live and learn, and ultimately to help build strong local communities.
We focus on supporting local communities through our Regional Community and Your Community Sites programme, whilst striving to connect our members and community groups together to provide hyper-local solutions through online and physical networks.
Our community partnerships include working with local schools, colleges and youth services across our trading area by offering extensive activities to engage and inform young people about the values and benefits of co-operation.
We create our Society community and school partnerships working with colleagues and members primarily through our Regional Community and Your Community Sites networks working closely with the Society’s Member Engagement Committee to agree approved charity and school partnerships, and through our co-operative community grants programme.
We expect all colleagues in contact with our community partners, and therefore representing our Society in the community, to behave in a professional manner at all times in keeping with our Society’s Values.
We encourage and expect colleagues to support the Society’s community programme and help champion the Society’s co-operative difference in the communities that we serve. In line with this we encourage our colleagues to support our school and education campaigns in the community to help engage and inspire future co-operators.
By the very nature of our community and school partnerships, a number of activities will involve supporting vulnerable members of the community. Vulnerability can impact everyone in different ways and the required support will vary upon individual circumstances. We ask our colleagues to pay that extra level of care, attention and sensitivity when working with vulnerable members of the community, and to ensure that where applicable any relevant checks and expertise is in place before carrying out any activity with vulnerable groups (such CRB checks where applicable).
Further details around supporting vulnerable people can be found in the Society’s Diversity and Inclusion policy.
Whilst the Society’s ongoing focus is to support our agreed charity partnerships as outlined in this policy, we will adapt our fundraising and support if required in line with any local, national or international emergency appeals. At such times the Society will review each appeal on a case by case basis working closely with our co-operative and business networks, such as Co-ops UK and Business in the Community, to ascertain if and how we can add value to each campaign.
Colleagues undertaking volunteering activities approved by the Society are reminded that they will be representing the Society. Colleagues are required to comply with the principles outlined in this policy and all Society policies and procedures for the duration of the activity.
Community hours must take colleagues away from their normal day to day duties – either being conducted during their normal contracted working hours or as agreed time off in lieu.
If you are unsure as to whether a volunteering or fundraising opportunity meets Society guidelines please speak to your manager or contact the Community Team on email@example.com and a member of the team will be able to advise you.
Colleague Volunteering and Community Support Policy
Date of last review: