10 March 2022

This article was written by Carly Phillips-Jones.

Since I started my training contract in January 2021 I have had the opportunity to get involved in many charitable activities in support of the local community. Volunteering days are strongly encouraged at Burges Salmon and there is great flexibility within the firm to ensure that you, as a trainee, can prioritise volunteering commitments alongside your workload.

In this past year I have been working with the Jessie May Trust which is a Bristol-based charity providing at-home nursing and respite care for children and young people that have a terminal or life-limiting condition. I have been lucky enough to attend the trustee meetings on a quarterly basis to take the minutes of the meeting and ensure that any actions and decisions are accurately recorded. It is fascinating to hear about the work that the Trust does, the key challenges it faces and how it strategises for the future. In the past, the Trust has had a lawyer from Burges Salmon on the Board as it is really valuable to have a legal insight in some of the discussions. Therefore, as well as being great practice for me in terms of drafting and note-making, this volunteering opportunity has opened the door for me and other trainees to consider applying to be a trustee in the future.

I am also tutoring Year 5 students at a local school via Action Tutoring after this opportunity was shared by the Burges Salmon Corporate Responsibility team. Action Tutoring is an education charity that helps to support pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds to achieve their academic potential. Every Tuesday morning from 8am to 9am I go into the school to work with a group of 3 or 4 students, completing comprehension tasks, answering any questions they have about work they are finding difficult, and reading together. It is really rewarding to do something practical to help children who are struggling and to see them develop each week. Burges Salmon have been really encouraging with this and my supervisor has been flexible to allow me to start working a little bit later on the days when I have tutoring in the morning. 

In addition, this year I have used two volunteering days with the firm. The first was taking part in a long walk (and maybe a stop at the pub with the other trainees!) as part of the Bristol to Edinburgh challenge to raise money in support of the theme 'No Child Goes Hungry'. The second volunteering day was with the BSustainable group, we attended the Avon Wildlife Trust’s Grow Wilder site and spent the day getting our hands dirty, helping to develop and maintain the six-acre wildlife gardening hub. 

Being part of a firm that actively encourages and supports its employees to get involved in such a wide range of volunteering opportunities in the local community is something I am proud of and, in addition to carrying on with the commitments I already have, I can’t wait to get involved in even more volunteering activities in 2022!

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