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Why if you work at Aviva you'll get paid to work somewhere else

PUBLISHED: 13:58 20 February 2019 | UPDATED: 14:50 20 February 2019

Volunteering is now being made an easy and fun option at Aviva. Pic: www.aviva.co.uk

Volunteering is now being made an easy and fun option at Aviva. Pic: www.aviva.co.uk

It might sound too good to be true but at Aviva you get up to 21 hours paid time off work a year on top of your annual leave. But it's for a special reason.

When not out riding, it's work as usual for Lisa Edwards. Pic: www.aviva.co.ukWhen not out riding, it's work as usual for Lisa Edwards. Pic: www.aviva.co.uk

If you want to make a difference and help a charity, it’s really hard if you work full-time to find the time. But at Aviva, they will give you paid leave to pursue volunteering.

Aviva regards volunteering as so important it has put various measures in place to make booking off the time as easy as possible and last year its staff in Norwich donated 6000 hours of work outside the business.

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Aran Bird, who works as a corporate responsibility consultant, is part of a team setting up an internal system whereby employees can sign up to various volunteer posts and a charity shop is being set up within the building. Staff can use their volunteer hours to help sell clothes and other items, the proceeds of which can go to a charity of their choice.

Riding and helping disabled children do the same; Aviva's Lisa Edwards. Pic: submittedRiding and helping disabled children do the same; Aviva's Lisa Edwards. Pic: submitted

She also took part in the ‘Aviva Strictly Come Dancing’ event. This raises money for charity and involved staff learning ballroom dancing and performing two dances in front of a panel of judges. Some of the time they took to learn the dancing could count as volunteering leave.

“As well as raising money for charity I learned a new skill and have continued to dance in my lunchtimes where they hold lessons in our building. It has been great for my physical and mental well being and also made some new friends,” she said. In a recent survey, 93% of those who volunteered at Aviva said it had benefited their morale and made them feel more motivated.

Aran has also worked with the Norfolk Wildlife Trust helping to cut down trees, clear reed beds and repairing fences, gates and bird hides.

Meanwhile Lisa Edwards, a copywriter, has found a real love of working with disabled children who are learning to ride. She only took up riding herself aged 50 and when she found the stables hosted a group from the RDA, the Riding for the Disabled Association, she started using her 21 hours to help out.

“The RDA is all run by volunteers. We set up courses for the children on ponies and it helps with their coordination, they really bond with the animal. A lot of the youngsters can be very introverted so to see them giggle is so rewarding. Volunteering has given me a real sense of purpose, it has improved my patience and my skills and has been hugely rewarding to see how the children are improving.”

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