Charity within the workplace. CCGG #4

Blogmas on the CancerCarerChats blog is a daily charitable Christmas gift guide with a twist - each post will feature an idea for a charitable act.  Christmas is a time for giving whether it be for someone you know or for a stranger.  Take the time at this time of the year to do a good deed, just one small act can help someone who is less fortunate than you are.  
As a reminder, my mum was diagnosed with Stage IV ovarian cancer in March 2017 when I started this blog to raise awareness of the importance of early detection of ovarian cancer and my life as a carer.  I care for my mum, trying to ease some of the load on her and walk by her side on this journey.  It’s just as hard to watch someone you love go through pain, than to experience it yourself.

When my mum was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, she started chemotherapy soon after.  Chemotherapy is an invasive treatment that consists of intravenously inserting drugs into the bloodstream where it is carried around the body to the vital organs.  However, the chemotherapy treatment cannot distinguish between those cells which are good and those which are bad.  As a result, the chemotherapy drugs invariably attack the white and red blood cells which can increase the risk of infection in the body.  After chemotherapy cycle #1, my mum was hospitalised with neutropenic sepsis, a life threatening infection.  I was distraught and realised that my mum’s cancer treatment would not only impact her lifestyle but mine too.  I spoke to the company that I work for and they were very generous to allow me to work part time.  The organisation I work for have been very accommodating but this is in some part due to the fact that I work for a Non-Government Organisation (NGO) or charity.  As such, the culture is that one which supports its staff and a healthy balanced lifestyle.  In fact, a large proportion of the workstaff are volunteers.  I think utilising volunteers in a company is a great idea.  It is a way for business to give back to the community in which it is situated.   Many people choose to work for a socially responsible company and 75% of the public now believe that it is either very important or absolutely essential for companies to act in a socially responsible way.  Approximately 70% of FTSE 100 companies already have a volunteering programme, but when you look outside of larger businesses, the picture is very different. Only twenty per cent of medium-sized businesses offer volunteering to their employees (Demos 2014).  Whether you work for a big company or a small company, whether you work for yourself or are a student, question the ethics and the social responsibility of any organisation.
Waitrose are a fine example of a big business which upholds its responsibility to socieety by donating 75,000 paid hours a year for staff to give their time and skills to support local good causes. For a retailer, the levels of engagement that this generates among staff and the relationships built in the communities where their customers live and work are invaluable.
PWC focus on developing a mix of activities to offer their people. This level of choice leads to approximately a third of their workforce volunteering. Within the opportunities available to staff, they favour those that use their professional skills, and in the last year 53% of volunteering was in this area. Having invested a lot of their time and expertise in measurement they know that this balance of activity is leading to greater satisfaction among employees that volunteer and they feel that it has contributed to their professional development.
Whatever your position within the company that you work for, foster an environment of ‘Giving’.  Encourage your company to be socially responsible in whatever way best fits with the company ethos and values.  Do your part by raising awareness and doing bake sales and get colleagues involved with fundraising.  I’m sure a lot of companies want engagement from employees as to how to make the place they work for better, aswell as working practices and cost cutting, this includes making the organisation a better place to work.
I'd be interested to know how the company you work for is socially responsible or gives back to the local community.  You can find me on Twitter @CancerCarerChat.
Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer
T – Toilet habit changes
E – Energy levels dropping
A – Abdominal pain/ swelling
L – Loss of appetite



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