Marks and Spencer volunteers “Make it Matter” in Thurrock

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ON Make it Matter Day, Marks & Spencer has launched a ground-breaking commitment to support 1,000 communities across the UK, help 10 million people live happier, healthier lives and be a zero waste business. This will see M&S colleagues dedicating one million hours of community volunteering by 2025, to support local initiatives and projects that really matter in the communities that M&S serves.

Colleagues from M&S Thurrock will kick-start the volunteering in Essex during National Volunteers Week (1-7 June) by joining forces with the Royal Voluntary Service to host a vintage-style tea party in store – with the aim of inspiring local people to come together to support their community, and help combat loneliness and isolation across the older generation.

The tea party will take place on Wednesday 7 June, from 3-5pm, and guests will be treated to tea, cakes and live entertainment in store. Special reminiscence packs, created by the M&S Company Archive, will showcase M&S trends and items from the 1940s – 1970s, to encourage those attending to share their own memories and stories about shopping during that time, and provide a unique talking point across different generations.

Pat Fleming is 71 years old and will be attending the Royal Voluntary Service Tea Party at M&S Thurrock. She regularly volunteers for the Royal Voluntary Service in Thurrock with her partner Tony and they deliver Meals-on-Wheels to elderly residents in the local community. The volunteering time they dedicate to the charity each week is greatly appreciated by the residents that benefit from the service as Pat and Tony will sometimes be the only friendly face they see that day.

Pat Fleming, Royal Voluntary Service Volunteer, said: “I really enjoy volunteering, it’s really nice to be able to give something back and make a difference. People are very appreciative and happy to see us arrive with a Sunday roast dinner and pudding. When I have time I like to stop for a quick chat – so I can’t wait to see and talk to everyone at the tea party.”

Ben Long, Operations Manager for Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire & Essex, Royal Voluntary Service said: “We have volunteers across Essex who generously give their time to enrich the lives of older people, ensuring they stay connected to others and their communities. Volunteers’ Week is the perfect opportunity to highlight the role our army of volunteers play, and recognise the vital contribution they make. We welcome M&S’s commitment and today’s tea party has been a fantastic way to celebrate the work of our volunteers and say thank you for the amazing job they do supporting older people in Essex. We would be delighted to talk to anyone interested in volunteering with us and to discuss local opportunities”

Nationwide, employees in every M&S store will join their colleagues during National Volunteers Week by helping to transform local projects that make a real difference. In total, over 60,000 colleagues will support more than 700 community projects across the breadth of the UK. Make it Matter is part of the recently launched M&S campaign ‘#SpenditWell’, which is about inspiring people to make every moment special by focusing on the experiences, people and things that really matter in life. All 80,000 M&S employees are supported with paid volunteering days.

Ben Spearpoint, Store Manager at M&S Thurrock added: “We’re really excited to be coming together to support the Royal Voluntary Service and welcome volunteers from the local community, together with our customers, to celebrate the fantastic work the organisation undertakes locally and beyond. Volunteering can make a huge difference to the communities in which we live, work and play – we believe that lots of the small actions from lots of people, can collectively have a huge impact. As a team we are looking forward to bringing people of all ages together to promote friendship across different generations, and highlighting how important this can be in tackling loneliness.”

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