Caritas Anchor House

Working at the heart of homelessness

Celebrating fantastic volunteers

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Celebrating fantastic volunteers

24th January 2020
Each month, the East London Business Alliance (ELBA) celebrates their corporate volunteers and announces their Volunteer of the Month!

In January 2020, they crowned Volunteer of the Month Oli Richardson of Accenture, who we’re delighted have been working with us!

Oli has been recognised for spearheading an exciting and creative project focused on addressing a problem related to homelessness, resulting in a full day innovation hub hosted at the Accenture offices. Over six months, Oli worked closely with Caritas Anchor House to understand a key strategic challenge we face. He then engaged a team of Accenture volunteers to carry out extensive research and preparation for the innovation hub, a day-long workshop to identify potential solutions to the challenge.

The innovation hub presented a unique opportunity for Caritas Anchor House to benefit from the consultancy skills and expertise of Accenture volunteers. Oli led a team of volunteers that facilitated a range of activities designed to generate prospective solutions. By the end of the day, Caritas Anchor House had a number of innovative ideas to take forward, which Oli is continuing to support us with.

Oli’s work demonstrates the impact of volunteers using their professional business skills to support community organisations, and Caritas Anchor House are incredibly happy with the support and result of the innovation hub.

Amanda Dubarry, Chief Executive of Caritas Anchor House, said, “We have been delighted to work with Oli on the tricky subject of sourcing and affording more move-on accommodation options for people experiencing homelessness who are currently in short-term hostel accommodation. Oli has brought such drive to this project and has pulled on the wider team, his significant skills and the resources at Accenture to mobilise some really great work for us. He is clearly a very busy guy but has been dedicated to taking on this project and pioneering a new way for Accenture staff to approach their time on corporate social responsibility projects. Best of all, he is an absolute pleasure to deal with. Thank you so much Oli, you’re a star.”

Oli was asked about his volunteering experience.

Why did you volunteer?
I volunteered because I wanted to try and use my consulting and innovation experience to try and do something about homelessness in London. Ultimately, I was tired of talking about how horrendous the issue was but at the same time doing nothing about it.  I wanted to see if I could use my charity days to do something good around the issue, and I wanted to see if I could get some of my colleagues to do the same so we could collectively leverage our days, and therefore the impact we could have.

What have you gained from your volunteering experience?
I have learnt a tremendous amount. On the one hand, it has taught me a great deal about the issue of homelessness; how the issue cuts across so many other areas such as housing, mental health and inequality. From the project, I now have a far more in-depth understanding of the systemic nature of the issue but also how there is so much that can be done to address it.

From a more personal perspective, it showed me what can be achieved by having an idea, a passion and trying to do something about it. The project started as an idea but with empowerment and support, both internally at Accenture and from ELBA, we were able to turn that idea into a reality. By doing the project, I’ve learnt a whole range of skills that I would not have had the chance or opportunity to develop. We got opportunities to shape the project and try different and innovative techniques that would have been tricky outside of this setting.

I’ve left the project with a greater skill set but also with greater belief that I can, through my work, have a positive impact on the world.

Would you recommend volunteering to a colleague and if so, why?
Yes, 100% – it made me love the work I do and feel valuable and proud of what I do.

Congratulations to Oli on a fantastic piece of volunteering.

If you would be interested in using your professional skills to support Caritas Anchor House, we’d love to hear from you. You can get in touch with ELBA, or contact us directly on info@caritasanchorhouse.org.uk.

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