The Culture Team – Who, What and How?
Our second helping in our Employee Focus series is now being served, as we take a look at the work of the Culture Team.
Back in 2014, 10 employees got together and ran 2.6 miles each around the Broadlands Estate in the Romsey Relay Marathon, to raise money for Victim Support. Not only did we raise £800 for the charity, but it set the scene with what was to become not only a regular feature in our events calendar, but also a fundraising focus for the company.
The company, formed in 2003, have five defined core values, which are:-
- To always exceed our customers’ expectations
- To constantly provide a professional service
- Be open to new designs and solutions
- Respect each other
- Always strive to achieve
And so, the idea was born in 2014, as Managing Director Wayne Palmer created a focused team to share these beliefs and align communications through the company.
This small team of individuals, a representation from each area of the business, became ‘The Culture Team’ (not to be confused with The Culture Club, for those that remember)!
The team’s remit is to find ways of improving the lives of all our colleagues, customers as well as serving the local community, ensuring every individual is included, fulfilled, and given a sense of purpose.
Schools and colleges
Wayne has always been actively involved in introducing local schools and colleges to business. As an annual task, he took on the role of a ‘Romsey Raptor” in The Romsey Schools version of ‘The Apprentice’, The Enterprise Project. He was also involved in the Mountbatten School Business Patron’s Club. He is currently a Non-Executive Director of P B Ed (Personal Best Education) at Mountbatten School and a member of the Gateway Multi Academy Trust of which The Romsey School and several other local schools are part of.
Having Wayne as a mentor to The Culture Team, we continued in this quest to support local schools with attendance at careers events as well as providing work experience placements for local students.
The Culture Team’s brainstorming sessions usually involved the planning of a social event or three! From table tennis competitions to cycling clubs, we rose to the challenge of enriching our colleagues lives by creating opportunities to interact with each other informally. And not just for our sporty colleagues, we also ran a library of books and DVD’s to share around!
The Culture Team have supported a number of charities over the years and from 2015, we adopted a ‘local charity’ initiative. This meant that we could really make a difference in the local community, and our first great cause was also someone known to us.
Lexie Cooper-Barnes is the daughter of a former colleague of some of us here. She was diagnosed with quadriplegic athetoid cerebral palsy and is fully reliant on others for day to day tasks. Thanks to our fundraising efforts for that year, we were able to give her a little more independence with software and accessories to control her home environment using eye gaze. The Romsey Relay Marathon was our main fundraising campaign to support Lexie, which brought in a whopping £1590 – the most we’ve raised at this event.
Some of us will remember at the following year’s Relay Marathon, as a gesture of thanks for our support, Lexie took a lap around the relay track for us, with the help of her Dad…a moving moment for us and one that Lexie was thrilled to be able to do, cheered on by all her supporters, including her friends at Team Toby!
In 2016, we focused our attention on a local charity, the Romsey Young Carers. This charity helps young people who provide care to others, aged 5 to 25. They provide opportunities for positive life experiences and the chance to make friends with others in similar situations. We planned a range of fundraising events throughout the year, from Bake-Off and sunflower-growing competitions, to the Romsey Relay Marathon and Walk the Test Way, and as a result, our fundraising haul totalled £1143!
2017 saw us support Jane Scarth House, a Romsey-based charity providing emotional and practical support to all those affected by cancer. During the year, the charity also moved premises.
And what did they need? Furniture!
We rose to the challenge and donated custom designed desks to fit into their new office space.
We also had lots of fun with more baking, relays, t-shirt day and we even held a baby photo competition…the complete embarrassment was all for a great cause!
We raised a total of £956 for the charity and were invited to see their new premises.
Anne Campbell, Centre Manager, commented “the donations we have received from local businesses, including Thinking Space have made a major impact on our charity. The majority of the renovation work involved in creating the new centre, as well as all the fixtures and fittings, have been either donated or provided from fundraising efforts. As an independent charity, we rely on this support to continue to provide our essential services. The growth of the charity has also meant that we have taken on additional befrienders, who are currently being trained, and are able to offer more counselling and therapy hours’.
In 2019 and continuing today, our nominated charity is Rose Road Association. Based in Southampton, the centre provides care for children and young people with severe physical disabilities.
To date, we have raised over £2500 for the charity, which has so far purchased the charity two iPads with communications software for children to communicate with. With Halloween dressing up and football shirt day fundraising events we were able to hold regular events throughout the year. Current member Adam Wood introduced us to the world of sweets! With his creative themed jars of delicious delights, the aim was to guess the sweets and the winner that was closest got the lot! And replenished the jar for the next guess the following month!
From the outset, the Culture Team members are a representation from each of our departments, who bring ideas and act as spokesperson for the rest of their team. Over the years, our team has changed, giving everyone the opportunity to be part of helping to improve the lives of others.
Our current team consist of Adam Wood, Mike Day and Tony Ferreira, guided by Suzanne Pinchin, to provide focus, direction and charity liaison. The team were awarded Employee of the Month last December, after they put on a sterling performance with entertainment and games at the annual Christmas Party. Who could forget our prestigious awards ceremony!
Improving the environment
The Culture Team have also looked to improve the working environment in whatever way they can. Whether it be to spruce up the reception area to improve our visitors experience, create a noticeboard to display social events, or buy a new table tennis table for the lunchtime knock-abouts, the team have made it happen.
With more remote working and changes in team dynamics, the work of the Culture Team will continue…
Next week: Our Employee Focus series concludes with a look at Company events and special occasions