Claire Baker, Head of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability, Bupa Centre,

Celebrating International Volunteer Day


I’ve always loved volunteering, sharing some of my time to help the communities I’ve lived in. But here’s the secret - It’s good for me too.

Volunteering, exchanging time and skills to help others, pays dividends to society and in return reaps benefits for all involved.

Today is UN International Volunteer Day (IVD), which is a chance to celebrate the efforts of volunteers and inspire others through the benefits of their work.

The topic for this year’s IVD is ‘building Resilient Communities’ to recognise the role of volunteering in development.

At Bupa, we are integrating employee volunteer opportunities as a key part of our commitment to invest in our communities and help people live longer, healthier, happier lives.

Over the 11 years I’ve worked for Bupa I’ve been encouraged and enabled to volunteer my time and skills to help others – everything from revamping a community playground in Hackney, London, to using my skills to raise awareness of dementia when I worked for Bupa in New Zealand, to helping school leavers improve their presentation skills through our community partner the East London Business Alliance (ELBA).

Every time I’ve volunteered I’ve learnt something - whether it be a one-off or a regular volunteering commitment. You meet new people, learn about their experience. It gives me new perspective and more gusto for my job.

This isn’t just me. Research shows that volunteering not only helps those around us but also benefits the volunteer too. Many studies show correlations that suggest volunteering is good for well-being and mental health, with benefits ranging from providing a sense of purpose, opening opportunities and learning new skills.

This year, around the world at Bupa, our people have been making a meaningful impact through volunteer projects that they care about. Our efforts are guided by our corporate responsibility and sustainability priorities and the UN Sustainable Development Goals, where we are always looking for ways to contribute to a socially and environmentally sustainable future.

The programmes Bupa people take part in vary based on our volunteers’ expertise and our local community needs. Research suggests that if volunteering is not done right then it can actually cost a charity more, therefore we always try to make sure that we help in the right way by offering skills-based volunteering where possible, where our people apply their skills in areas where charities are looking for support.

This year just some of the examples of how our people have been helping their local communities include; our colleagues in Hong Kong partnering with Hong Kong Clean-up to organise a beach clean-up, and our Bupa Centre partnership with ELBA where we have hosted skills workshops to inspire young people entering the world of work and took part in team challenges to give hands-on help to a local project.