I write with unashamed and enormous beaming pride to announce that award-winning not-for-profit social enterprise Works4U is celebrating its 10th birthday. This 100% self-sustaining internationally-recognised London enterprise has a social mission to help businesses to support the community through volunteering. In the past 10 years Works4U has organized for over 15,000 business volunteers to carry out almost 1,000 impactful community projects benefiting over 270,000 people.
Each volunteering activity organized begins from a genuine community need and Works4U promotes and matches projects to the resources and goals of businesses. It then organizes the volunteering in full, sorting out the areas that are often time-consuming and complicated for businesses and community organisations to do themselves, such as risk assessments, site visits, insurance, safeguarding and DBS (formerly CRB) considerations, sourcing and ordering materials, planning and supervising the volunteering to ensure it is impactful, safe and fun. These activities vary from team volunteering, skills-based volunteering and delivering workshops and carrying out mentoring.
In the voluntary and community sector Works4U is defined as an Employer Supported Volunteering (ESV) broker, bringing together businesses and community organisations. The last 10 years has seen a growth in ESV activity, but it is very difficult to sustain a successful brokerage service and we have seen many similar initiatives fail during our time. One of Work4U’s key strengths is that a flexible approach is built into our DNA. We recognise that every business is different and if we can find a way to make a project happen, we will. We are proud of our not-for-profit approach which makes us a cost efficient and highly effective service for businesses but also, we are very strict on being not-for-loss too so to ensure sustainability.
Although not a large operation based in Fulham, we very much punch above our weight and have delivered huge volunteer projects in London, only last month supporting 300 volunteers to carry out community projects in 10 different locations across the capital, simultaneously. Our work has been recognised locally and internationally, winning several business awards and we have been invited to the United Nations Office at Geneva to lead discussions on how businesses can contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda.
In 2014 we set up the London ESV Network as we want to develop the work of corporate volunteering even further, so it is more coordinated to meet social priorities and has a larger and long-lasting impact. The voluntary and community sector is highly complex and fragmented, so we need to work harder to make it easier for businesses to engage and partner with the sector to make a difference. We believe that businesses are not separate from the community, they are very much part of it, and we need to change attitudes of all about this to create a more joined up, cohesive and resilient communities.
We are using our 10th birthday to show off our achievements and work, but this would not have been possible without the support, input and passion of a huge number of people, organisations and businesses. To my colleagues past and present, volunteers, trustees, community and business partners, the hugest of thank yous for everything you have done.
Although I officially joined the organisation in 2013, I wrote the original business plan for Works4U in 2009 as a pro bono consultant, never imagining I would be working for and leading the organisation a few years later. Whilst putting together the original plan, I worked very closely with Works4U’s first manager, the very fantastic Doreen Thompson-Addo who is equally proud to see Works4U reach its 10th birthday.
“Happy 10th birthday to Works4U! I am absolutely delighted to see Works4U growing from strength to strength and continuing to make a positive and lasting impact on communities and businesses alike. Having worked at the Hammersmith and Fulham Volunteer Centre from 2004 – 2010 one of my biggest achievements was co-founding Works4U alongside [then Volunteer Centre Director] Marion Schumann. We passionately believed that the businesses located in the local area could play a significant role in supporting the voluntary and community sector through volunteering and created Works4U as a platform for this to happen. It has been fantastic to see the impact that Works4U has had and the recognition it has been given nationally and globally over the years! Thank you to everyone who has made Works4U the success it is today and I hope to be celebrating again in another 10 years time!“Doreen Thompson-Addo
We are extremely proud of what we have achieved in the last 10 years, but we are firmly looking to the future. The community sector needs the help and support of businesses more than ever and in lots of different ways. We have a large number of really impactful projects for business volunteers to take part in. We can find a project that works for you.
Here’s to the next 10 years!
Chief Executive, Works4U