M&S colleagues and customers across Devon have joined forces in a special volunteering initiative that has had a big impact on 24 local charities.
Nine M&S stores from Plymouth to Exeter took part in Spark Something Good, which saw more than 300 volunteers give up over 2,653 hours for free, in order to make a positive difference.
Director of Plan A at Marks & Spencer, Mike Barry commented: “There’s a tremendous sense of camaraderie when people come together to give something back to their local community and that’s exactly what Spark Something Good is all about. I’m thrilled that the residents of Plymouth and Exeter have embraced our initiative in this way and got stuck in. I’d also like to say a big thank you to all our colleagues who have helped to make this event such a big success.”
Among the 24 organisations that have benefitted from Spark Something Good are Action for Children, Dementia Action Alliance, Exeter Phoenix, Jeremiah’s Journey and the Marine Conservation Society.
At Action for Children in Exeter, open-air revamps were the order of the day, with M&S volunteers helping to transform two garden areas at Beacon Nursery and Cedars Pre-School. The make-overs included the creation of a sensory garden for babies at Beacon Nursery and installation of play equipment and an outdoor stage for the young children at Cedars Pre-School.
Carly Newcombe, Early Years Deputy Manager at Action for Children, said: “We’re so grateful to all the volunteers who have given up their time to help create our new garden areas. The spaces look absolutely fantastic and will provide a wonderful place for the children to enjoy the fresh air and learn through play.”
Also taking place was a big beach clean-up at Batten Bay in Plymouth. Volunteers rolled up their sleeves and took to the shore to help the Marine Conservation Society pick up debris, collecting 25 bags of rubbish in just two hours.
Lizzie Prior, Beach Clean & Conservation Administrator at the Marine Conservation Society, said: “We are so grateful to M&S and all the wonderful volunteers that came along to help us on Saturday. They were an integral part of the mammoth clearing effort, filling 25 bin bags and capturing valuable data to add to our national Beachwatch litter survey, now in its 23rd year.”
Spark Something Good Plymouth & Exeter is part of a national M&S initiative that will see 24 projects at the heart of local communities take place across 24 cities in the UK and Ireland over the course of 24 months. The campaign aims to inspire and motivate M&S employees and customers to grab a shovel, pick up a paintbrush and take action for social good – donating time to their local communities to improve lives.