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Supporting our communities during the lockdown

With COVID-19 restrictions on face-to-face team volunteering activities, it was more important than ever to think innovatively and strategically about how to support our communities. Our people rose to the challenge, providing vital help to society while working remotely under lockdown.

Setting the scene

One Firm One Day (OFOD) is our annual firmwide volunteering and fundraising day, when our people get together to make an impact in their local communities. 

In the March of what would be OFOD’s 11th year, it was clear that the need to support our communities was greater than ever. But it was also clear that this year, we would need to be innovative in our approach.

How we helped

With our people eager to help as COVID-19 bit, we knew we had to go beyond anything we’d done before. So we introduced One Firm Every Day, allowing people to give back over a longer period and providing them with guidance on how to do so safely. Against the backdrop of a pandemic, our efforts took on more urgency and meaning than ever. Individuals and teams took it upon themselves to offer support to their communities, helping them tackle some of the most pressing issues they faced.

Here is a small selection of those stories:

Offering support locally

Our people supported their local Mutual Aid groups, NHS trusts, councils and food banks by coordinating care efforts for vulnerable people and those self isolating, and supporting key workers. 

Riyaz Dhalla from our in-house Legal team worked with Hand on Heart, a children’s charity, to provide food for frontline NHS workers over Ramadan and Eid. He teamed up with them again to distribute parcels containing clothing and toiletries to homeless people.

Kulbir Lehri from our Tax team prepared and donated more than 70 food parcels for the homeless and vulnerable in Oxford during lockdown. 

And more than 85 of our people volunteered to deliver support packages to people in disadvantaged communities in Manchester.

A focus on wellbeing in times of stress

To address the mental health impacts of the pandemic while raising money for charity and helping each other stay active during the lockdown, our people set up virtual wellbeing sessions and challenges. We partnered with The 2.6 Challenge, which aimed to save the UK’s charities when their traditional fundraising methods were put on hold.

These initiatives inspired our people to keep fit, stay healthy and connect with one another, while contributing to a good cause. Quizzes, virtual exercise groups, bake-alongs and fitness challenges helped teams keep in touch and gave us all  important moments of release during lockdown.

Sharing knowledge and skills

Upskilling remained a big focus. As we all adapted to working remotely, technology became key for connectivity and information sharing. Our people used their industry-specific skills and expertise to offer virtual support to social enterprises, small businesses and charities at a challenging time.

A team in our People & Organisation practice shared advice with small businesses through the charity Heart of the City. They used their expertise to provide advice on how to offer HR support through COVID-19.

Teams from Sales and Marketing, Pursuits and Design for Good ran virtual masterclasses for over 50 social enterprises from the PwC Social Entrepreneurs Club.

In the North West, a team led a community volunteering project, helping Manchester City Council to identify those most in need of extra resources, such as food parcels.

And a team volunteered to help The Aspiring Solicitors Foundation to develop its vision and a sustainable fundraising plan as it entered its second financial year.

Our New World. New Skills upskilling programme means we’re well positioned to help teachers, parents and carers with remote learning. We published and shared helpful resources, such as our Employability Skills Toolkit, which included access to our TechWeCan lesson plans.

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“Having professionals guide us through new skills during the lockdown helped us use the time to reinvigorate our planning and delivery. I found having an external perspective on social media useful in looking at how our social enterprise was performing on certain platforms. It helped focus my mind and take time out to ensure that we were meeting our expectations, especially in a climate of changing circumstances.”

Lyndsey Ng, Programme Officer, Leaders Plus

Making a difference

More than 800 of our people volunteered 4,672 hours of their time during the course of the lockdown.

Our reimagined OFED programme saw our people work more closely with communities than ever before as their support became a lifeline for many. But it also brought huge benefits for our own people. Being able to give back in a time of need helped us feel connected to an effort that was so important for so many. 

This was a live example of how we are able to quickly adapt, react and respond to important problems and challenges, using our purpose as a driving force for positive change. 

Edward Harrison, from our Deals practice, said: “Despite the challenges, our firmwide volunteering programme was able to continue and be extended this year, which helped me contribute to my community at a time when it is easy to otherwise feel powerless and isolated. The support I received from the firm gave me renewed focus and hope. Interacting with colleagues, organisations and members of the public, having a shared purpose and being able to make a visible difference to people’s lives outside of my day-to-day work was an experience I won’t forget.” 

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Corporate Affairs, PwC United Kingdom

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