There haven’t been many opportunities for colleagues to get out and about over the last 18 months. But now that schools and voluntary organisations are starting to return to some form of normality, some of our colleagues in the PF Corporate Office in Bradford asked if there was a community team challenge that they could turn their hands to, so we worked with one of our local volunteering partners to find a project they could get stuck into.

During 2021, PFG has helped fund The Venturists, a project at Bradford primary school, St James’ Academy in Allerton. Working with nine to 11-year-olds the project gave pupils the opportunity and expert support to deliver social action programmes. They were helped to understand and explore issues in their community and what they could do, which led to their creation of an upcycled play area and new wildlife garden.

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Unfortunately, they weren’t able to complete all the work needed at the time and this is where we stepped in.  Not ones to shy away from a bit of mud, the team got to work on finishing off the tyre play area and created a new balance beam.  There was also plenty of work to do in the garden to prepare the growing beds for winter.  Given the great British weather, there was, needless to say, plenty of mud!

The team also had the chance to hear from Jilly Taylor, who delivered the project and worked with the children, and Chris Tolson, the school’s headmaster about the positive impact that being part of The Venturists had had on the children involved.  Many of the pupils at the school face challenges at home, often related to different forms of disadvantage, and may therefore be more likely to disengage from their education. The Venturists has been an innovative way to get them interested and involved in their own communities, whilst also helping their personal development, confidence and resilience.


The school said afterward, “We feel very lucky to have school grounds like these today as PFG gave up their time to finish our project and create a little more legacy.”

One of our volunteers, Amber Bibi, Group Company Secretarial Assistant, said “Hearing from the Headmaster about how much it had meant to the children to be involved in this, really gave context to what we were doing and why - and made us want to do a really great job to finish off the play areas that they had so brilliantly started. I feel very proud of what we achieved together as a team.”

As we move into 2022, we’ll be looking at new community team challenge opportunities. In the meantime, colleagues can support organisations that they care about either by fundraising and claiming matched funding from PFG, using their annual day of volunteering leave, or taking part in a number of company-led volunteering programmes to help out in their community.