Access never give up Hope

Employees from across our business returned to the Christian charity Hope Nottingham again last week to offer their volunteering services once more. 

Every year, The Access Group allows each of its 1,500+ staff to take a day out of the office, if they wish, fully paid, to ‘give back’. And that’s as far as the Terms and Conditions for the day go. Staff are free to decide whether they’d like to volunteer at a local charity shop, marshal a charity fun-run or anything and everything in between.

Last year Keith Pentelow, Support Analyst at Access, who regularly volunteers at Hope with his wife, was made aware of their plans to convert an area of wasteland donated to them by the council. The extra land would allow Hope to extend its ‘Grow and Grow’ scheme. They use gardening as a means to allow people to learn new skills, make new friends and provide a pathway to work for the many who contact Hope in desperate need.

Keith, aware of the Access scheme, decided to recruit 20 or so of his colleagues to pool their 2018 ‘Giving Back Days’ together to help with the transformation project. They spent an arduous day clearing weeds and brambles, collating rubbish, trimming trees, erecting a new fence and even had time to paint a corridor at Hope House. 

Since then, Hope have not let the ball drop, continuing to make progress on their own by further clearing the new area of yet more rubbish and garden waste. In their place now stands a new potting shed as well as an area of raspberry canes and other soft fruit for visitors to the charity to help nurture. 

After such a successful day in 2018 and aware there’s still plenty of work to be done, Keith decided to return to Hope for Access Giving Back Day 2019. 

“It’s great that businesses and charities can work together in this way to make a huge difference to people in our society who are struggling” said Keith. 

Supported by another 15-strong team and this time armed with a skip and wood-chipper, they spent the day finally removing rubbish from the land and shredding garden waste to mulch. 

With Access ‘paying’ for the day and employees willingly providing the labour, local suppliers were asked if they could provide products and services to help, and at a discount where possible. One such supplier that was contacted was Ashbourne waste recycling firm, Peak Waste. After hearing about the charity and the project, Peak Waste was only too happy to provide a skip. Going much further than they’re normally expected, to provide for a community far from their own, they delivered to and picked up from Beeston… and all FREE OF CHARGE. It was a fantastic gesture from the company that Keith, Access and, of course, Hope were incredibly appreciative of. 

“We are very grateful indeed for the volunteer help from Access and the generous provision of a skip from Peak Waste. We are gradually clearing and developing the community allotment to create a wonderful urban green space in which people can gain work experience and build confidence as well as grow food for local people. Local business support is vital to help us achieve this.” Nigel Adams, Director at Hope Nottingham. 

The work completed over the last two years now means Hope, that works alongside local churches and community groups can offer a place of trust and transformation for even more local people. As for Access, it remains to be seen if Keith will find enough work to return to Hope with a team for a third year running. The betting is he will.