A giant effort to help out in the community is stepping up a gear as Tees Valley colleges work together to make, Time for Tees.

In this, Volunteers’ Week, the Education Training Collective (Etc.), Middlesbrough College Group and Darlington College are announcing plans to embark on a shared volunteering drive that will see hundreds of staff from across the organisations heading out into the community this summer to give their time to good causes.

“Our aim is to give something back to the communities that we work so closely with every day,” said Etc. chief executive and group principal, Grant Glendinning. “What better way to do that than giving our time, rolling up our sleeves and helping out in a real practical way?”

Launching the initiative last year, Etc. saw around 250 staff from Stockton Riverside College, Redcar and Cleveland College, Bede Sixth Form College, NETA Training and The Skills Academy in Billingham, give a day to 21 projects across Teesside, all in a single day. 

Staff took part in a host of voluntary activities from walking rescue dogs to sorting clothes for a baby bank, maintenance projects and litter picks.

Grant said: “The impact in just one day of volunteering was immense and offered a great chance for staff from the different colleges in our group to work together outside of the usual work environment.”

At Middlesbrough College Group all staff are now being encouraged to get involved, which could see upwards of 1000 people giving their time to the community. The college’s first batch of volunteers are due to start their efforts this weekend, supporting Teesside Hospice with donation buckets at the James Arthur concert at the Riverside Stadium.

Zoe Lewis, chief executive and principal at Middlesbrough College Group, said: “There is nothing more important to the college and its staff than the community in which we work and which we serve, so taking part in Time for Tees was something which we were all very keen to do.

“Our staff are all looking forward to putting their time to good use by taking part in a whole range of different projects which will benefit the local community in myriad different ways. Time for Tees is a great way of demonstrating our commitment to the community and a very practical way to bring about change and improvement in the area.”

Also joining the volunteering drive will be teams from Darlington College. Principal and chief executive David Gartland said: “Darlington College is delighted to be taking part in this initiative. We already have great relationships within the communities we serve. 

“By enabling our staff to fundraise and volunteer as part of a dedicated week, it allows wider participation, supports our own wellbeing initiatives and further cements our commitment to being a college at the heart of the community.”

Looking forward to a bumper event, Etc. chief executive Grant added: “To now have FE colleagues from Darlington College and Middlesbrough College Group join the project means this summer Time for Tees can reach even more good causes, offering us a unique insight into the incredible work that goes on by so many amazing organisations in our region.”

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