HSBC and The Grassmarket Community Project

HSBC at the Grassmarket Centre

A good match

The Grassmarket Community Project is always keen to work with like-minded organisations looking to build Corporate Volunteering or employer-supported volunteering (ESV) schemesWe have staff experienced in ESV and the corporate sector. This makes it easier for HR teams to find opportunities to meet their corporate and employee goals, whilst fulfilling our requirements as a small and passionate charity.

HSBC are one of our regular corporate volunteering partners. Here’s the story so far of our developing relationship…

Corporate Volunteering at The Grassmarket Community Project

HSBC and us

In 2021, HSBC employees UK-wide undertook 79,000 hours of community volunteering, with all employees spending at least one working day a year on a local project. The bank employs over 4,500 people in Scotland, many work in the heart of Edinburgh close to the Grassmarket Community Project.

Over the last 18 months, we have worked alongside HSBC’s Rebecca Morrice and David Golden, to build a varied programme. With HSBC, it is often individual employees from a wide variety of roles who sign up for daily tasks at the Grassmarket Centre. This helps build transferable skills and cross-departmental relationships amongst colleagues. There are also opportunities for whole teams to attend to build teamwork and a sense of camaraderie.

A typical day volunteering

A typical day for the 5-10 volunteers starts at 10 am with teas, coffees and a briefing from Kevin, our Volunteer Coordinator. He gives some background about our charity, its history, goals, and challenges and, importantly, the task objectives for the day ahead. Kevin also ensures risk assessment forms are completed by all. Everyone is then assigned a role. At least one Member also attends each volunteering session, to help and to share their story.

Throughout, Kevin encourages breaks to ensure that the job is enjoyable and not just hard work. Lunch is often taken with our Members, then the task resumes and is usually completed by 4 pm; people are always happy to stay on until completion.

Kevin loves working with our Corporate Volunteers, ‘I’m always impressed with the enthusiasm and how hard everyone works, time tends to fly. You can really see a sense of pride at doing something worthwhile, they definitely get a sense of accomplishment and enjoy getting out of the office.

We’ve welcomed 20 or so HSBC volunteers since 2021, with several coming back 3 or 4 times to volunteer. Our Members enjoy meeting and working with the volunteers and this helps build their confidence. As the ESV scheme has developed, we have 10+ repeat volunteers who look forward to working with us and are starting to know the GCP staff and members well. Thanks to our HSBC volunteers, jobs also getting done that wouldn’t be possible otherwise due to lack of resource and/or funding.

Craig from HSBC who has been here 4 times and likes coming back,

Supporting the Grassmarket Community Project has been a huge eye opener for me in terms of the services, courses and activities they offer to their members and members of the public. The project is well organised and structured meaning volunteers assisting the project are able to mingle with the Members and get to know them and learn about their roles at GCP.  I have supported the project for over a year now and love the sense of achievement gained from every volunteer day given. This will be something I’ll look to continue into the future.

Showcasing our HSBC collaborations

Here are three examples of projects which would not have been possible without the support of our HSBC volunteering friends.
From the bottom of our hearts, we want to thank HSBC and everyone involved for all their hard work and support .

Easing the move in and out of The Grassmarket Centre

HSBC Corporate Volunteering - Grassmarket Community Project - 2021

Our first HSBC collaboration took place in 2021. We finally had the funding to extend our social enterprise Coffee Saints which was fantastic, but it did mean we had to move out of our Grassmarket home when work commenced. Moving is unsettling for anyone, but especially the vulnerable. Our amazing HSBC volunteers came in and helped, getting us settled into our temporary accommodation at Augustine’s Church.

When the building work was completed, they helped us do it all again in reverse, as we moved back into the Centre. Everyone deserved a coffee in the new Coffee Saints pavilion!

HSBC Corporate Volunteering The Grassmarket Community Project - 2021

The warehouse project!

HSBC Corporate Volunteering The Grassmarket Community Project - 2022

For a long time we’ve needed extra storage space for the large quantities of wood donated to our Woodwork social enterprise. In January 2022, we were lucky enough to acquire warehouse space from Remakery in Granton. However, the warehouse was brimming over with old furniture, boxes and discarded materials!

The clearing and tidying was an overwhelming project to think about, there simply wasn’t the time or resource. Our HSBC volunteers came to the rescue and worked alongside our Members, spending two days clearing the warehouse. We now have a valuable and much-needed storage space for the The Grassmarket Community Project.

HSBC Corporate Volunteering - The Grassmarket Community Project - 2022

Painting the Forth Bridge!

HSBC Corporate Volunteering painting The Grassmarket Community Project 2

It is proven that the nicer our surroundings, the more pride we have in our community and the greater self-respect we feel. The Grassmarket Centre is well used, with over 100,000 people passing through our doors each year, regularly using the various teaching and training rooms.

Over the last couple of years, our fantastic HSBC volunteers have helped us with painting, cleaning and tidying, including a big refresh of our much-oved, much-used  IT Suite. So good are their painting skills, we’ve a growing list of painting jobs for the year to come. We look forward to welcoming them back soon!

HSBC Corporate Volunteering painting The Grassmarket Community Project
HSBC logo

The future with HSBC

Our relationship with HSBC is developing all the time, as we share ideas and understanding of each other’s needs. We are already planning further volunteer days in 2023 and considering other ways of working together for mutual benefit. It is SO important that volunteering is mutually beneficial for all three parties – the employer, the employee and GCP.

Once again, thanks to everyone at HSBC who has come along to volunteer and a special shout out to Rebecca who organises the HSBC teams. We appreciate all your hard work and look forward to working with more HSBC employees on more projects in the future!

Want to find out more about Corporate Volunteering?

Find out more about corporate volunteering opportunities at Grassmarket Community Project. Or design a custom-made programme which fits your organisational and employees’ specific goals, contact Kevin Radzynski, Volunteering Coordinator.