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Walking the Talk: Volunteers Week 2023

It’s not always easy to find the time to volunteer, but gbp’s senior leadership team have made a commitment to ‘walk the talk’ and live gbp’s values in all that they do. Many of the team regularly put aside time in their busy diaries to contribute skills and expertise to a wide range of causes on a voluntary basis.

By sharing some of their stories this Volunteers’ Week we hope to encourage more of our people to be the change that we want to see and get involved in volunteering in whatever way works for them.

Paul Ferry, gbp group Executive Chair

For well over a decade gbp’s Executive Chair Paul has been involved in volunteering activities of one kind or another. From his role as Governor at a local Primary School for around 13 years, to taking on the role of Park Ranger at the National Trust site Quarry Bank Mill in Cheshire, to sitting on the Board of Trustees for the Charity, SICK! Festival since 2019 and Chair for the last 2 years. SICK! Festival faces up to the complexities of mental and physical health and presents an international arts programme, weaving in perspectives from researchers, clinical practitioners, public health professionals, charities and those with lived experience of the issues. The Arts is something that was new to Paul before he joined SICK! Festival, and he comments:

“Don’t be put off by the fact that you may not have experience of a specific sector or subject matter experience. Have confidence in yourself - your experience and skills are applicable to a wide range of third sector charities.”

Paul certainly enjoys the variety and challenge that volunteering brings. Paul’s advice for anyone looking to ‘dip their toe’ into volunteering:

“Consider opportunities that perhaps aren’t a long-term commitment to begin with. Plenty of smaller charities and community groups need a hand with a project that would benefit from skills that an external volunteer could bring from their working life, for example, project management or finance. Find out what you enjoy and what works for you!”

Wendy Spencer, gbp group Business Support and Quality Director

In her day job as Business Support & Quality Director, Wendy leads gbp’s back-office operations teams; HR, IT, Quality, CSR, Social Value and internal and external marketing communications functions. In 2019 Wendy drove forward the establishment of the gbp foundation and continues to contribute to making sure its impact is focussed on those who need it most. To date, the gbp foundation has reached over 120,000 people and their communities have benefited from over £100,000 of investment and employee volunteering. Wendy is an avid fundraiser with a passion for supporting communities close to her heart. She is involved in a number of charities as a volunteer, sharing her business skills and expertise, with a history that includes work with Hospice’s and the RSPCA. Wendy is currently a Trustee for the Standing Tall Foundation, a charity based in St Helens who work to promote the mental health and physical wellbeing of all community groups by providing free professional support and services. She has also recently completed a short project with a small charity that the Cranfield Trust matched her with. Wendy’s believes that when it comes to volunteering, you get back just as much as you give, commenting:

“Volunteering provides you with opportunity to meet with people from diverse backgrounds and appreciate the challenges being faced by different organisations. The satisfaction of being able to give back to society and making a difference is HUGE!”

James Lloyd, gbp group Finance Director

James is the most recent member of the gbp group senior leadership team to take on a voluntary role. With a young family and a busy day job to juggle, earlier this year James made the significant commitment to get involved as a volunteer Non-Exec Trustee and Chair of the Commercial Committee for the Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS). RLSS is governed by the Board of Trustees who act in the charity's best interests, set the strategic framework, make key decisions and oversee the running of the charity.

Since 1891, RLSS have been sharing their expertise in water safety, lifesaving, and lifeguarding to educate everyone to enjoy water safely. The charity has some big plans and ambitions to grow, and James’ appointment is a 3-year fixed term role to support the Commercial Director with the charity’s growth journey. James commented:

“I am really proud to be working with and supporting RLSS as a volunteer. In the relatively short time that I have been in the role I have been able to share my skills and expertise and provide a different perspective. RLSS has some ambitious plans and together I have no doubt we can make sure these plans come to fruition to further support the amazing work the charity does.”

Ian Tuddenham, gbp Development Director and Managing Director of gbp develop

Ian has been involved in volunteering for a number of years. As father to two boys, sport has been a large part of Ian’s life. For a number of years Ian co-managed and coached a junior boy’s football team, undertaking his FA coaching qualifications in his own time to support this.

At the start of 2023 Ian was appointed as Non-Executive Director and Trustee of a seven school Multi Academy Trust in Birmingham; Forward Education Trust (FET). FET’s purpose is to ensure the children in our schools receive the best possible education, care and life chances by being the West Midlands bespoke provider of choice for children with high levels of special educational needs. In relation to his role as Trustee, Ian commented:

“Upon my initial tour of the schools within FET’s Trust, I was overwhelmed by the level of support, care and understanding that the teaching and support staff provide to the children in the schools, all of whom have varying Special Educational Needs. No matter what their needs, all of the children are incredibly supported to be the best version of themselves possible. I am proud to be able to support the Trust to continue this amazing work”

Other members of the Senior Leadership Team actively volunteering include: Chief Executive Elaine Siew who is an Independent Governor at Wolverhampton University and Business Development Director Hugh Robinson who has been helping a grass-roots group gain donations and funding for the renewal of Bude skate park.


If you'd like to find out more about gbp’s volunteering scheme, or your charity is looking for volunteers, get in touch!



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