Staff at Carrier have turned their hand to helping old people during lockdown, teaming up with Re-engage, a charity that offers outreach to the elderly population suffering with loneliness.
Re-engage would usually organise live social activities for thousands of elderly people, but obviously had to cancel events and created a new telephone “call companions” befriending service for older people instead.
Offering support via regular phonecalls was where the luxury operator wanted to step in to help, but Carrier’s team soon realised Re-engage couldn’t cope with the volume of people wanting to volunteer either.
“Some of our employees discovered that Re-engage was struggling to cope with demand itself, with more than 2,000 applications from volunteers received since the start of the crisis,” explained Mark Duguid, managing director of Carrier.
“So rather than sit back and wait, members of our team are actually now helping with applications too, and have been trained [during their furlough] to conduct interviews to help Re-engage clear its backlog.”
Members of the Carrier team still on furlough will also then go on to become call companions to offer regular phone calls to those 75+ living alone or in sheltered housing and feeling lonely or isolated.
“In the depths of the crisis, we were obviously making sure our staff were OK, but then we looked further afield to see who might need help,” said Duguid.
“Via our membership of Walpole [a collective of British luxury businesses], I’d seen that various brands were re-purposing their operations, whether it was to make hand sanitiser or masks at their factories, but obviously we didn’t have that! Our biggest asset is our people, who love having conversations, so I looked around for charities or places where we could help in that way and I found Re-engage.”
Duguid said this was an extension of the company’s ongoing commitment to CSR anyway, which also includes staff having the option of two volunteering days each a year and general work with charities and good causes by all at the business.
“For our team who were furloughed, this gave them a renewed focus and purpose, which became extremely rewarding,” he said, adding Carrier would likely continue to work with Re-engage even after the crisis in some way.
For every booking made from options featured in its current Blue Skies Ahead campaign, Carrier will also make a donation to support Re-engage’s essential training for new volunteers.
“It’s important to reach out to small charities and initiatives that might otherwise not get the attention too,” he said.
One of the Carrier team, Liz Goodwin, product manager for Europe, has also now turned her hand to making face masks for sale, with all proceeds going to Re-engage.