Calling Champions: right now, kindness matters most

To help us help more civil servants, we’re recruiting The Champions. There are no hoops to jump through, writes Marie McNeil from The Charity for Civil Servants


If you’re a fan of pop star Harry Styles, you’ll know ‘Treat People with Kindness’. It’s a song with a simple message: ‘Maybe we can find a place to feel good/And we can treat people with kindness’.

I was taken by these lyrics when I put finger to keyboard today. As the Head of Volunteering at The Charity for Civil Servants, my colleagues often hear a similar sentiment from me. Volunteering is about building relationships to empower and support each other through acts of kindness. Where I work, we pride ourselves on a community that does precisely that.

We recently launched an engagement network called The Champions, which encourages like-minded, committed civil servants to promote our services across the Civil Service.

The Champions share:

  • Who – The Charity for Civil Servants are
  • How – to access the support available
  • Wear (it) – to promote themselves as Champions

This is, of course, what our Charity volunteers do already and that won’t change. We’re just busy growing the team. 

Becoming a Champion allows people to get straight to work. As a base-level activity, there is no need for formal training, enabling people to get involved almost immediately. All activities can easily be completed while working – by, for example, sharing free resources with your team; booking a speaker for an online meeting; or posting our information on your intranet or bulletins.

Through regular email communications, The Champions will be given everything they need to be confident in their conversations. They can decide themselves just how they want to circulate and promote these. 

Our virtual coffee mornings are a particular favourite. These informal catch-ups serve to inform and inspire. We hear from guest speakers; learn about the Charity; connect with other Champions; and share successes and experiences. 

By the end of 2021, we want 1,000 Champions standing with us

In these unusual times, it’s more important than ever that people understand the emotional, practical and financial support available from The Charity for Civil Servants. Initiatives like these help us to advance our vision of the Civil Service as a supportive community where everyone can thrive by overcoming life’s challenges.

The Charity for Civil Servants is available to help all current, former and retired civil servants when they need it most. Find out more about the ways in which we offer support.

As the role of Champion evolves, we’ll explore more specialised and skills-based opportunities. But for now, our focus is getting more people on board and getting our message out there. 

At a recent online conference, a speaker said: ‘Volunteering is a contact sport, but we’ve not been able to play amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.’ This has been a real challenge over recent months. However, The Champions’ initial activity is digital only, which means the show can go on. 

By the end of 2021, we want 1,000 Champions standing with us – and then, by 2025, 5,000. With such a simple, impactful and meaningful way to interact with people, we’re confident we can reach our goal. 

If we have learnt anything in the past few months, it is that, together, we can overcome hurdles. We can still connect with each other, and we can continue to help those who need it. It all comes down to leading with kindness. Become a Champion and help us with our work.

Marie McNeil is head of volunteer engagement at The Charity for Civil Servants

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