At Starling, all 1850 of our employees have an optional 16 hours of extra paid leave each year for volunteering. Team members can share their skills or passions in almost any way that benefits others, whether that’s in a school or through a charity.

Here, we speak to three team members about how they use their Starling volunteering hours.

Becky Jay, Business Specialist

“I remember seeing the volunteering hours in the job description and thinking it was something I really wanted to do,” says Becky Jay (pictured above). She joined Starling in September 2020. In 2021, Becky, 30, spent two days volunteering for RORO (Ride Out Ride On), a Bristol-based charity that helps people with mobility-impacting factors, such as a disability or long term health conditions, enjoy the freedom and fun of cycling.

“They have adapted bikes, where you have one volunteer rider at the back and the client riding at the front. A bit like a tandem but more comfortable. The steering is controlled from the rear and the client can add power through the pedals if they want.”

For both days, which were a month apart, she cycled with a woman who had a horse riding accident that impacted her physical mobility and heightened her anxiety. “We went down the Bristol footpath to Bath, we had a whole day out,” she says.

“Being able to share my love of cycling with someone who otherwise wouldn’t have been able to do that was fantastic. I also had a conversation with someone I otherwise wouldn’t have crossed paths with.”

Gurmokh Sangha, Database Administrator

“I think coding is as essential as basic Maths and English - it’s such a useful skill,” says Gurmokh Sangha.

Gurmokh, 46, runs the Coding Club at his children’s primary school near Exeter. This involves guiding around ten children between the ages of 8-10. He uses his Starling volunteering hours to contribute to this commitment.

“We follow tutorials and the kids can make their own games on Scratch,” he says. Scratch is a popular coding resource for kids. “One kid made a game that ran over three screens and involved three different levels, which for a 10-year-old isn’t bad.”

Gurmokh Sangha and his son, who is part of coding club

He also runs ‘follow alongs’, where he will do something and the children copy his code. “We made a rock, paper, scissors game. The kids had to turn elements of the game into code.” For example, if rock and paper were combined, paper won.

Gurmokh joined Starling in November 2020. He previously worked in database administration for the NHS. Outside of work, he created an app that plays different sounds in the background, for example birdsong or people at a café. His advice for anyone keen to learn to code is: “Pick something and build it - tutorials will only get you so far.”

Vikki Williams, Customer Experience Officer

Vikki Williams joined Starling in October 2021 and has been using her Starling volunteering hours to contribute to her commitments as Chair of Governors for a secondary school in Northamptonshire.

Vikki Williams and Shaun Strydom, headmaster of Brooke Weston Academy

“The school is in Corby, one of the most deprived towns in the country, and has some of the best results among comprehensive schools. However it isn’t all about exam results, the ethos is about supporting all students to become good rounded human beings and giving everyone the opportunity to excel,” she says.

“As Chair of Governors I spend time with the Headteacher of the school and the Senior Leadership Team. I am available as a sounding board, an escalation point and as someone to have a chat with. Along with the other Governors, I go into the school once a quarter for a half day and observe lessons, attend assemblies,” she says.

“The volunteering hours from Starling allow me to accommodate these sessions in my working day, which is great.”

Subscribeto blog updatesarrow-right

Related stories

Latest posts