Cornish Mutual pledges 1,000 volunteer hours to help local communities

Thursday, 20 August 2020

UK ICMIF member Cornish Mutual has pledged to provide communities across the South West of England with 1,000 hours of volunteering during 2020. The rural insurer is actively supporting its employees in their efforts to volunteer across a wide range of good causes in their own neighbourhoods.

Last year, the Cornish Mutual team totalled-up around 700 hours of volunteering by helping charities and community groups.

Now, with its team members working almost entirely from home due to the coronavirus pandemic the insurer is encouraging employees to come forward with ideas of how they can make a difference in their own communities.

Many of the Cornish Mutual team have already been shopping for neighbours, delivering food or medical prescriptions to vulnerable or elderly people, as well as joining the National Health Service (NHS) Volunteer Responders.  Others have chosen to take part in litter picks and beach cleans or to volunteer at food banks. Other examples include, Trudy Herniman who organised a milk delivery for her Devon village (see picture), working with a local farmer and Cornish Mutual Member. Meanwhile, Hana Holden baked 130 cakes for keyworkers while Jo Hawkins and her daughter Lily volunteers with Camborne Food Bank and delivers prescriptions to those having to self-isolate.

“We are committed to supporting the communities in which we work and live and have a strong tradition of throwing ourselves into fundraising, charity events and volunteering,” says Katie Harland, HR Leader at Cornish Mutual.

“We knew that our teams didn’t want to stop all our volunteer work because of the current restrictions. With everyone working remotely, we wanted to give people the opportunity to use a portion of their work time to help out in their local community.

“This is our most ambitious volunteering project yet. One thousand volunteer hours would amount to an average of 10 hours per team member. It’s a fantastic opportunity for us to make a difference across Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset,” Katie says.

Speaking in May of this year, Managing Director Peter Beaumont said: “Our ongoing priority has been to look after our members, colleagues, suppliers and communities. That means acting in a responsible way, which is consistent with our mutual values.”

Unlike many businesses, Cornish Mutual has not furloughed any of its employees. The insurer says that the whole team has been available to offer the full range of services that the company’s members are accustomed to. While they have not been able to undertake their usual face-to-face meetings until very recently, field-based teams were contactable as usual, prioritising members in vulnerable circumstances.

“We are passionate about supporting the communities in which we work and live and have a long tradition of getting involved with fundraising, charity events and volunteering,” said Peter.  “During the pandemic, we are helping in all sorts of ways. Just one example is that we have been donating fruit we usually provide to our teams to staff working at a local hospital.”

“Rural communities are known for being resilient, with neighbours supporting one another through difficult times. We are all doing our bit and it has been wonderful to see the many ways in which our colleagues are helping during these challenging times,” said Peter. 

Last month, Cornish Mutual announced that the organisation was slowly getting back to the 'new normal'. The insurer’s Field Force team are now visiting those who would benefit from a face to face meeting and some livestock market offices have opened or are soon to do so. However, like many ICMIF member organisations, much of the team are still working from home.