• Jane Batchelor

Hugh’s quick off the mark in taking benefit of gbp’s new staff volunteering scheme.

As luck would have it, the new gbpartnerships staff volunteering policy came into force just in time for Hugh Robinson’s (gbp’s Business Development Director) latest volunteering event.


Hugh’s been volunteering as Okehampton Running Club’s Race Director for four years now, helping to govern a club of 180 members in West Devon which enables people of all ages and abilities to run at whatever level they want to. We checked in with him to find out more about what he’s been up to: “Okehampton’s a great running club that improves the physical and mental health of its members and the wider community, whilst encouraging community cohesion too.


Along with being part of the committee that makes decisions for the club, my job has been to organise monthly 5k community runs in Okehampton’s beautiful Simmons Park and the club’s four summer fell races, which send runner’s scampering up the steep Tors of Dartmoor.


For those that haven’t come across it before, fell racing is a uniquely British form of racing which involves running (and walking/climbing if it’s too steep to run) up mountains or moors, without navigational aid, on rough ground with sometimes non-existent paths. It’s got a bunch of die-hard competitors who take part, and I’m very proud to play a part in preserving this odd running discipline (check out the great book “Feet In The Clouds” if you want to learn more).


In 2021 we’ve included junior races for the first year starting at an earlier time, and so earlier this month, I needed a few work hours off to get the Sourton Tors Race event set up and start registering the runners – which thanks to the new gbp volunteering scheme I was able to do with the blessing of gbp and without eating into my holiday allowance.


Sourton is a really traditional race – you park in a farmers field, register in a pub car park, and run a stunning, short but viciously steep route up to the Sourton Tors Trig point. The runners then loop back down the other side of the valley and hammer down the hill past the sheep and pony’s, under a Victorian viaduct and back to the Bearslake Inn.


The volunteering team and I got 60 racers home safely with smiles on their faces – with both the male and female course records broken. The youngest runner was 7; the oldest was 75 and we raised £350 for the club. A good evenings work!”


gbpartnerships employee volunteering scheme is designed to support and encourage staff to get involved in volunteering in their local communities. Staff have access to 4 paid days per year (pro rata for part-time and temporary staff) to undertake volunteering activities. It is just one of the ways in which the organisation invests in partnerships and relationships that make a positive difference to people’s lives. Find out more about our work that supports the communities in which we work here: www.gbpartnerships.co.uk/foundation


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