On Wednesday our staff swapped desks and laptops for brooms, lawnmowers, litter pickers and gardening tools as they took part in our 2024 Community Morning. Every member of our staff - over 160 people - were out volunteering at local organisations across the Wycombe district, getting involved in the vital work that they do and demonstrating in practice what it means to be a community housing association.

Red Kite staff members with residents at the Princes Centre in Princes Risborough

For this year's Community Morning we worked with a total of 16 organisations based across South Bucks. Our Resident & Community Engagement team, who organised the event, worked hard to diversify the groups we were helping this year, to give staff more choice and to make the most of their talents. Traditionally we've tended to concentrate on outdoor manual and gardening work, but this year we also helped create spreadsheets and put together marketing materials for some organisations.

Red Kite staff members doing some voluntary decorating work for The Coffee Snobs

An important part of our Community Morning is the involvement of our tenant volunteers, 16 of whom took part this year. They were mainly out at our sheltered schemes, helping to host the ever-popular coffee morning quiz sessions with tenants. There were 15 teams taking part across 13 different schemes in this year's quiz, as always written by our Sheltered Housing Manager Kevin. The residents of Parsonage Close, and amazingly a single participant at Nancy Hall Court, emerged victorious, jointly winning with a magnificent 85 points out of a possible 98! We'll be contacting the winners soon to arrange their prize of a brunch at Hills Café.

Mayorfield House tenants taking part in the sheltered scheme quiz

One of our contractors, E.ON, also got involved this year - they sent two members of staff to help volunteer at Wycombe Food Hub and to litter pick with Wycombe Marsh Community Environment Group. E.ON also kindly offered to help sponsor the event, allowing us to supply more sweet treats to our sheltered schemes, and to treat all the staff and tenant volunteers to an ice cream when they returned to the office.

A Red Kite staff member pushing a wheelbarrow at the Lady Ryder Memorial Garden

"Thank you so much for the help this morning. It has made a massive difference for us, every single person was so lovely and friendly, so thank you."
Andrea, Shopping, Customer and Volunteer Experience Manager, Wycombe Food Hub

One of the organisations we helped out, Social Link, a local charity working with adults with learning disabilities, sent two groups to our offices for the morning - one group went out on a guided walk, whilst the other helped out staff preparing things for the returning volunteers. Social Link staff member Hannah said:

"Thank you SO MUCH for today. Both groups had a fantastic time! The walking group were brilliant - what a lovely bunch of people you have in your team. I was on that trip too and it was a great morning. I popped over after lunch to pick up one of the office group members and chuckled as he came out with sweets and stationery. The office group have just returned full of beans (and fish and chips and ice cream!) - Thank you for two wonderful experiences."

Two Red Kite staff members helping out at Holmer Green Football Club

Staff were also out helping Booker Common and Woods Protection Society, who had this to say:

"Thank you to the really enthusiastic and hard working volunteers from Red Kite who gave up their morning to to help us on the common. They could not have been more helpful or hard working and did a fantastic job."

You can see the results they achieved on the Booker Common and Woods Protection Society website.

A Red Kite staff member scrub clearing at Booker Common

Once everyone returned to the office there was a lot of excitement as colleagues swapped experiences over lunch. Everyone agreed that our Community Morning really drives home what we're about – being a community housing association.

Where we volunteered: