STAFF at two councils are being encouraged to volunteer in their community.
Employees at Havant Borough Council and East Hampshire District Council will be given the opportunity to take two days of paid leave per year to go and work as a volunteer in a charity or community organisation.
The scheme follows in the footsteps of joint chief executive Sandy Hopkins, who volunteered for a day at The Rowans Hospice in Purbrook.
It is hoped members of staff who already volunteer will be encouraged to give more of their time throughout the year and those who do not yet volunteer will see this as an opportunity to get involved.
All staff that wish to take up the scheme will be required to show how they will gain useful skills and experience from their voluntary work and how it will benefit others.
Brian Wood, East Hampshire’s revenues manager, currently volunteers at Motiv8, a Portsmouth-based charity providing an out-of-hours appropriate adult service for the police.
He said: ‘The Volunteer Leave Scheme will be great for me as Motiv8 is always stretched trying to maintain staffing levels using volunteers.
‘The scheme means I will be able to offer some time during working hours and be involved in the organisation’s training programme.’
Terry Bishop, chief executive of Community First East Hampshire, said: ‘The experience of volunteering can be very rewarding.
‘Volunteers learn from the people they are working with and expand their horizons. It helps to build a community spirit. We are delighted the council has decided to introduce this scheme.’