Spirit Week 2019: What We Get From Giving

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Last October 2018, RingCentral UK’s office began to run a week of community-focussed activities called Spirit Week. This year was bigger and better, enabling us to give even more back to our local community. Due to our rapid growth, we had a lot more people wanting to get involved. 

The point of Spirit Week is to engage our London RingCentral employees in contributing to the local community. Our London office is located in Ealing, in West London; the borough is served by an active council and many grassroots and charitable initiatives, offering plenty of opportunity to connect and contribute.

As an organisation, RingCentral values the location and surroundings of its London office, and wants to make its presence felt for positive reasons as an engaged and supportive member of the local community. Some of our workforce employed at RingCentral are local to Ealing and have a direct connection to the community and environment, which is further incentive to look for ways the company can offer help where it is needed.

The point of Spirit Week is to engage our London RingCentral employees in contributing to the local community. Click To Tweet

Fortunately, there are some very worthy local causes that we were able to get in touch with to find out the best way we could help. After some careful thought, we narrowed this down to a list of five.

At Ealing Hospital Children’s Ward, the paediatric team treats a range of conditions as well as providing more general care for children. It was threatened with closure in 2016 but thankfully was reinstated following demonstrations by the West London Council of Action and community of West London.

Papyrus Prevention of Young Suicide is a charity that has been going over 20 years with a mission to reduce the number of young people who take their own lives by shattering the stigma around suicide and equipping young people and their communities with the skills to recognise and respond to suicidal behaviour.

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Down’s Syndrome Association is a charity helping people with Down’s Syndrome and their families, through a range of activities and outreach programmes. The charity celebrates its 50th anniversary next year.

Austerity continues to affect lives all over the country, and Ealing Food Bank has six centres in the borough of Ealing, collecting and distributing food and other essentials to the needy. The charity gave 11,546 3-day meal parcels to people in food crisis in the last financial year.

Ealing Soup Kitchen is currently run by Andrew Mcleay, who works alongside volunteers who facilitate the Friday Hub, Monday evening and the weekend Soup Kitchen teams. The charity helps anyone who needs hot, nutritious food and a helping hand.

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Spirit Week included different exercises for our colleagues to get involved with to help offer support. These ranged from fundraising to donating to volunteering, and enabled us to create a varied five-day programme that would involve our colleagues without getting in the way of their day-to-day work activities.

Taking into account the weather, we played a game of rounders a couple a weeks before Spirit Week took place, which saw a lot of our employees partake and enjoy. The game was pay to play, and we donated the proceeds to the Downs Syndrome Association. We’ve found that sporting activities are a great way to engage our colleagues and get them involved. The company running club, started last year, has proved popular, and several colleagues took part in Ealing Half Marathon last year as part of RingCentral’s Health Programme.

The variety of activities throughout the week was well-received and generated an encouraging level of engagement. Colleagues donated books for Ealing Hospital Children’s Ward, baked and brought cakes into the office to share as part of a coffee morning in aid of Papyrus, and brought in at least one item of food to donate to Ealing Food Bank. A ‘shopping list’ of items was distributed to staff via online and offline channels in order to guide their purchases, which proved to be very successful. 

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Ealing Soup Kitchen is open to sponsorship, and as part of Spirit Week RingCentral sponsored Ealing Soup Kitchen. Twelve volunteers attended the soup kitchen for two shifts covering morning and afternoon duties. Morning duties included food preparation and cooking lunch for approximately 60 homeless people. Afternoon duties included serving meals, distributing items of clothing and toiletries, helping people with CVs and job applications, spending social time with Soup Kitchen customers by playing board games and providing an exceptional experience for the less fortunate.

All this serves to bring us closer to our neighbours in the community and helps RingCentral employees feel they’re here to do more than just turn a profit. We’re a data-driven organisation, so we’re very focussed on hitting targets and making things work, but we also recognise the human aspect of work and value the importance of communication, relationship-building, and the nuances of individual and group motivation. Last year’s Spirit Week saw 50 people involved; this year the number was double that.

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Besides Spirit Week, we’ve also put on many different activities which have raised funds for other local causes, and I’ll tell you all about these in future blogposts. We have an exciting programme of events lined up for December, so stay tuned for those festive details. In the meantime, please share this blogpost and comment about the great opportunities your company is creating for employees to give a little back and feel a lot happier.

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Originally published Nov 19, 2019, updated Jan 16, 2023

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