Leonardo celebrates first official community day of volunteering

19 April 2024

A lunch for local charities, schools and care homes was held at our site in Yeovil, the Home of British Helicopters, to celebrate Leonardo’s first ever community day of volunteering.

While employees working at our Yeovil site have volunteered for local causes and organisations for many decades, this was the first time that an official day of volunteering has been created by the company.

A group of Leonardo graduates came up with the idea when they saw the potential to focus efforts according to specific local needs. Our senior leader were so impressed by the graduates’ concept for their ‘Be a Saint Day’, that they are working with them to make the initiative a regular event in the annual calendar.

The Leonardo team of 55 volunteers got to work on an extensive range of tasks on 18 March, after spending weeks engaging with local organisations to fine-tune their understanding of each organisation’s specific requirements.

Beneficiaries included The Hub, a Yeovil based charity offering day services for adults with learning disabilities and autism. The team carried out extensive gardening at their facility, planting new flowers and painting the wood surrounding their raised flowerbeds. They also smoothed the fire escape path, to make it easier for the Hub’s trainees to walk on when exiting the building in an emergency.

Ken Comber, CEO of The Hub said: “The Leonardo Be a Saint Day was a fabulous success. The Leonardo team re-layed an unsafe pathway to a fire exit and improved our flower and shrub borders and raised beds. They all worked extremely hard, but the best bit was the interaction and engagement with our trainees who have learning disabilities and/or autism. Leonardo staff working alongside our trainees will help our trainees with their social engagement, confidence and self-esteem and the feeling of being included and valued cannot be underestimated. It is a brilliant initiative! Huge thanks to Leonardo and all involved!"

Leonardo volunteers painted a hallway at Cookson’s Court Care Home and carried out extensive work at Prodigal Bikes, a charity that refurbishes donated bikes and ships them to Africa, where they offer training to children and teachers in their use and maintenance. This included installing new storage and carrying out a general clean and tidy up of the workspace, so that mended bikes can be made ready for shipment to Africa more easily. The team also attended Yeovil Cricket Club, where they painted fences, benches and a large container to spruce up the surroundings, as well as completing a clear-up and installing a new score board.

Maiden Beech Primary School received a visit from the volunteers who spent the day painting their school hall used for class assemblies and events.

Leonardo volunteer Paul Coombs added, “It was a herculean effort by the team to transform the hall in just one day, all made possible by the fantastic collaboration between our team and Maiden Beech Primary School. It was great to get the children involved, who were all very enthusiastic. We created a tree collage on the wall and each leaf is signed by a pupil. As new children join the school, the tree will flourish.”

Rose Boyce, Head of School at Maiden Beech Primary School, commented, “We were incredibly fortunate to be part of the Leonardo's Be a Saint Day. Our school has undergone a huge change and we are repurposing our entire site to meet the needs of younger learners phase by phase. As the last paint strokes were made, we all were amazed at what a transformation had occurred. Next week, we will invite our whole school community in to our school hall for our termly celebration assembly. We can now be proud of the space we have to come together, learn and celebrate. Thank you to all who were involved and gave their incredible support to the project.”

Jacob Potts, Leonardo graduate and Project Manager for the ‘Be a Saint Day’ committee said: “I am so proud of the committee. It is amazing how far this initiative has come in such a short space of time. The project would not have been so successful without the support from senior management and the proactive attitude of the Leonardo employees. I am excited to see the progression of this concept in the years to come and truly believe that this has the potential to have a major impact on the community in Yeovil.”