Unilever employees in the community to create a brighter future

Yesterday the phones and PCs at Unilever’s UK head office in Leatherhead, Surrey, fell silent as more than 500 employees headed out into the local community for the company’s second annual Bright Future Volunteering Day.

Supporting 19 community partners’ projects across Leatherhead and the surrounding area, the troop of consumer goods employees were out working to help address some of today’s most pressing social issues affecting communities around the UK: youth employability; self-esteem; food poverty, as well as the environment and sustainable living.

Employees took a day away from their desks to work on a volunteering project of their choice in these four areas, which support Unilever’s global sustainability aims, to double the size of the business, while reducing environmental impact and increasing positive social impact.

As part of Unilever’s commitment to this aim, the company’s volunteering policy, open to all c. 7,000 employees in the UK and Ireland, provides individuals with company-matched time off to spend time volunteering in the community or with their chosen charity. In practice this means that any permanent UK employee can spend one week per year volunteering by using just two days’ personal holiday allowance and receiving three days’ paid time off.

Graeme Pitkethly, EVP and Chairman for Unilever UK & Ireland Chairman, said, “We saw a tremendous amount of energy and enthusiasm today and it’s been easy to see that having a purpose and having an opportunity to give back to your community is highly motivating and inspiring. We’re proud to have had so many of our employees out in force making such a big impact.

“We have been focused mainly on Surrey community today, and I hope that we’ve helped to play our part in tackling some of the county’s top issues. We work on a global scale trying to address all of these issues, but wherever we operate, it’s vital to make a positive impact locally, taking the small actions that add up to a big difference. ”

Schools and charities involved in the day were:

  • Youth employability – Feeding Britain’s Future session at Unilever House, Leatherhead; Royal National Children’s Foundation; The Leatherhead Youth Project;
  • Self esteem – Therfield School, Leatherhead; Rosebery Girls, Epsom; The Ashcombe School, Dorking; City of London Freemen’s, Ashtead; Blenheim High School, Epsom; and St Andrew’s School, Woking.
  • Food poverty – Trussell Trust food banks in Kingston and Epsom/Ewell, FareShare UK, Deptford.
  • Environment and sustainable living – Friends of Teazle Wood, Leatherhead; The Orpheus Centre, Godstone; The Children’s Trust, Tadworth; Box Hill, Tadworth; Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation for Disabled People; Business in the Community.

Speaking on Unilever’s support of local communities Jenny Beacon, Community Impact Manager at Business in the Community commented ‘’It’s fantastic to see that once again Unilever is making a difference by engaging its employees to give back to the local community. Employee volunteering, where staff at all levels offer their time, skills and abilities to tackle local social issues, is an effective and powerful way for businesses to invest in their local communities.’’


Ioanna Leoussi

M: 07741 290458


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