At Progress Housing Group, we're championing 'employer-led volunteering', which is a programme to support our colleagues into volunteering opportunities to benefit our customers and the local communities that we serve.

As well as supporting our communities, we are also finding that volunteering is also supporting our employees with:

· learning new skills;

· improving morale, engagement and team working;

· gaining experience outside of the usual work and social environment;

· improving wellbeing and work-life balance.

We have also started to introduce team volunteering events, where teams and departments from the Group help our tenants and customers with anything they need at their schemes, homes, or out and about in the community. This could include fundraising, painting and decorating, gardening, providing training, or helping out at community events.

Our HR Team volunteers at  independent living scheme

Our HR and OD Team are the first of our business areas to volunteer their time and skills at a bulb-planting event at Martinfield, one of our independent living schemes for people aged over 55, in Penwortham.

We spoke to our Progress Involvement Officer, Sam, about the day:

"After days of rain and wind, on 2 November, the weather dried up to welcome Progress Housing Group's HR & OD Team to Martinfield independent living scheme on the Kingsfold estate in Penwortham.

"The task of the day was to plant daffodil bulbs in the green areas at the front of the scheme for the community to enjoy year on year. After taking advice from the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), we set to work in teams of two or three, planting bulbs. We planted 25 per patch until the sack of 400 was gone.

"Our Involvement Team were on hand to provide refreshments (which included yummy cakes and biscuits baked by colleagues), and offer support and direction to our volunteer planters and tenants who also turned up to lend a hand.

"Despite being a little wet and muddy, it was a lovely, friendly and fun morning! The only downfall is that we now have to wait until spring to reap the rewards of our efforts!"

Talking about the bulb planting by the HR & OD Team at Progress, Gillian, a tenant at Martinfield independent living scheme, said: "All the Progress Housing Team were very helpful and were happy to put the bulbs where we said we would like them!”

Marie, Progress Housing Group's Reward and HR Systems Manager, said: “Planting the bulbs together was very enjoyable! I can’t wait until spring to see them flourish!"

Learning and Development Partner at the Group, Janette Calvert, added: “Come rain or shine; we thoroughly enjoyed our bulb planting experience, and we can’t wait to come back in the spring to check out our beautiful daffs!

"It has also been a great opportunity to meet some of the tenants, which was really nice.”