Ahead of this year’s City Giving Day, the City of London Corporation encouraged its employees to take part in volunteering, and interviewed some who are already keen volunteers. One of those volunteers was Kate Finnis, a membership manager at Heart of the City! They asked her how she uses her volunteering hours:
‘I’ve been volunteering for about six years as a school governor. It’s a big commitment as it takes about four or five hours a week. I started out as a parent governor and and went on to become Vice Chair after a few years and now I find myself Chair!
It’s a lot of work and we’ve had big changes at the school meaning I’ve had to make big decisions that have affected a lot of children and families. However, I can now take time out during my working day as part of the corporate volunteering scheme. Previously, I had to use my own time or personal holidays. It endorses the fact that my employer supports me. I couldn’t do it without this commitment.
I’ve learnt so much as a governor that I’ve brought to my role at Heart of the City. I can facilitate round table discussions and chair meetings better now, which can be harder than you think! I’m more confident generally.
I always thought I’d work in the education sector, but it just didn’t happen. Seven years ago I was doing a job that didn’t give back or maximise my skillset, and then the governor opening came up so I jumped at it.
As a working mum I’m not able to do school pick up or drop off, so being a governor gives me the chance to feel much more involved and a part of my children’s education. I can see return on investment every time I walk down the corridor. I really enjoy it, it’s so rewarding, and it’s really helped me as I feel like I’m achieving something.
And us governors bring so much to the school: we come from all walks of life, and help to make the board diverse. It’s essential to reflect the school community with a diverse school board. Our diversity of experience, be it the NHS, social work or councils – all outside of the education sector – means we bring a diverse perspective, challenging the school in a healthy way!’
If you’re a Heart of the City member, there are lots of resources online to help you create a volunteering policy, form partnerships and encourage your employees to use it!