PEOPLE from businesses across Winchester and beyond, have taken a day off work to volunteer at Trinity, the day centre for the homeless.

The event was organised by Community First as part of their Employee Volunteering Scheme. Janet Duggan, Volunteer Service Manager from Community First comments “This is the 2nd Business Community Day organised for smaller businesses in and around Winchester who often don’t have the same opportunity to volunteer as a group, unlike larger corporations. By bringing together a range of businesses they got to make a difference to the community whilst having an opportunity to network”.

Winchester based charity Community First has have over 600 members that are also charities and they help provide support, training, advice, transport and volunteers for these charities.

Janet Duggan, Volunteer Service Manager, at Community First said: “We have a number of volunteers from all sorts of backgrounds at Trinity today, we have a lawyer Mike Dyer from Taylor Fordyce who has been in court all week and is gardening today and we have Rachel Niddrie, an interior designer who is making lunch in the kitchen.”

“We do an average three volunteers days like this a week. Next week Rathbone Wealth Investment are volunteering all their staff of about 40 for a whole week at a Shepherds Down special school in Compton.”

The chronicle spoke to the volunteers: Rachel Niddrie said: “This is my first time here. It’s been great. We are given free rein so we are making chicken pasta bake and fruit salad. It is a group effort. We saw what food was available and decided what to make when we arrived today.”

Also helping in the kitchen was Philippa Thompson, manager of The Dower House Nursing Home in Headbourne Worthy. Mrs Thompson said: “I done charity events before but this is the first time I’ve done volunteering. It’s been great and it’s been good getting to know other business people. I’ve been helping make the pasta bake. I’ve made it before but never with the ingredients we’ve had today.”

In the garden lawyer Mike Dyer said: “It’s been very rewarding. You can see people who are struggling. It takes me back to my days when I did legal aid work and I saw people that really needed help. I’ve been cutting back hedges, raking leaves and trying to tidy up a little. Hopefully we make a difference.”

Nigel Luke from the company Shuttercraft said: “It’s been an eye-opener. We often forget the plight of other people. Today we are helping out in our own little way to make it a more pleasant place to live.”

If your business would like to get involved with the Employee Volunteering Scheme contact Rachel Taylor at Community First, email or telephone 0300 500 8085 ext 9724.