Greenshoots and ING Direct

ING staff in Reading branch out in a bid to help local charities

ING Direct staff in the garden
ING Direct staff in the garden

For the past five years, staff at the insurance company ING Direct in Reading, Berkshire, have been supporting the company's global charity link with Unicef through various fundraising activities.

But last year the staff said they wanted to support charity in the local community.

The branch continued to raise money for Unicef, but in September 2009 it chose two additional local charities to support - a children's charity and Greenshoots, a horticultural project run by adults with learning difficulties.

They help to grow fruit and vegetables in a garden and sell the produce to the public from a shop on site.

Sue Bennett, head of local fundraising at ING Direct, says this local partnership has given staff the opportunity to be hands-on and build a close relationship with the charity.

As well as raising money through pub quizzes and plant sales, ING staff have also helped out at the centre to build things such as raised beds for plants.

These days have been of benefit to staff at ING as well, providing a great opportunity for team-building.

"It's good for our employees to get out of their work environment and get to know their colleagues in a new way while doing this positive work," says Bennett. ING has agreed to match the amount its staff raise for Greenshoots.

In 2010, ING has raised £3,300 for the charity.

But Angela Fordham, manager at Greenshoots, says the partnership has been worth much more because of the free labour that ING staff have provided.

"The team days have been invaluable to us, because a lot of the adults who come here wouldn't have the skills to build things with power tools such as raised beds," she says.

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