John Lewis, the department store, has pledged to increase the amount of time its employees can volunteer during working hours by 69 per cent to 33,826 hours annually.
The staff-owned retailer made the announcement to coincide with Volunteers’ Week, which celebrates the work of volunteers across the UK and runs until Friday 7 June. John Lewis staff volunteered about 19,990 hours during working hours in 2012.
The commitment applies to the 17,500 staff who work at John Lewis, but does not include those working for the company’s supermarket chain Waitrose.
Each of the 29 John Lewis department stores around the country has a community liaison coordinator who works with local community groups and charities to find ways the branch and its staff, or partners, can support them. These include product donations, financial support and volunteering time.
Christine Kasoulis, director of brand development at John Lewis, said: "By working alongside charities and community groups, we seek to understand how we can best support them.
"Volunteering is a key way in which many of our branches already assist and benefit the local community. By pledging to increase our volunteering commitment and enabling partners to be released from their day jobs for increased amounts of time, we seek to extend our support even further."