Volunteers giving back

On the 4th of May, Packed with Smiles welcomed 50 volunteers from London-based Insurance broker, Howden Group Holdings, for an afternoon of activities giving something back to Southend on Sea. Packed with Smiles supports local children experiencing financial hardship by providing school uniform and essentials twice a year, to help children participate more fully in school. The afternoon’s activities centred around supporting local children. 

A team of 13 carried out a clean-up on Chalkwell Beach guided by Win O’Sullivan from the Southend Beach Care team and with a talk from the team at Chalkwell Lifeguard station too. PWS Co-founder Scott Baker commented “Many schools in Southend will have a trip to the beach this term, so we felt this was a great way to improve a space visited by schools, and the wider community. The Howden team worked hard, collected a huge amount of waste, and earned a prize for the most unusual find adding an element of competition and fun!”.

The remaining volunteers undertook ‘apprentice-style’ tasks split into two teams basing themselves at the co-working space at The Squeeze café on Leigh Broadway. One team hit the streets to secure competition prizes for a PWS fundraiser launching this summer, where generous local business owners donated prizes including restaurant vouchers, and even a guitar! The second team got to work fuelled by smoothies and coffee, to put the event together. From designing promotional posters and writing launch materials, to choosing the events launch date, no aspect was overlooked. Christine Wyatt, Trustee of PWS commented “we’re delighted with what the Howden team have achieved in one afternoon. The support of professional sponsors has a big impact on small charities like PWS, and we’re extremely grateful”.

As a reward for their hard work, the Howden team walked to Old Leigh for their final stop of the day, a delicious meal at recently refurbished No.1 Cockleshed.  Rachael Jenner, Strategy Director within Howden Markets said “We cannot thank PWS enough for putting together such a creative, unique and fun challenge for our team.  It was an honour and privilege to support PWS and the many children and families it helps in our local community.”