Posted on the 4th June 2019

At M&S doing business in the right way for the planet and the communities we serve is fundamental to how we operate and serve our customers and it’s something our colleagues are deeply passionate about. Doing business in the right way means lots of different things – from ethically sourcing our clothes, to donating to important causes nationally and locally, to running employability programmes with partners such as The Prince’s Trust. But crucially it also means using our people power and skills for good through community engagement and volunteering.

Impact on colleagues

Like many companies, M&S offers all colleagues one paid day of volunteering a year, and this is the third year in a row where we’ve worked with social platform Neighbourly to co-ordinate a week of action – something that we think really helps galvanise colleagues and demonstrates our commitment and support to volunteering as a corporate organisation and an employer.

In 2018 99% of colleagues enjoyed taking part in the week of action, 95% felt they made a meaningful difference to their community and crucially 100% reported they would volunteer again in future. Colleagues love getting involved.


When you work in a shop you’re connected with the community in a way that is quite unique and with that comes a real want to help and play a role in that community.

But we’re all living increasingly busy lives and it can be hard to find the time to organise something – when your employer and organisations such as Neighbourly can help with that it makes a massive difference.


This year 5,000 colleagues from 600 stores will be working with more than 400 organisations to support a group that M&S colleagues and customers care passionately about – young people – committing 40,000 hours of help. Within this 30 M&S teams will be sharing their experiences of the working world with young adults and children, supporting CV writing and job skills workshops. Skills-based volunteering in increasingly a big focus for us and you can read more about that and our work with Power to Change here.

90 projects are with charities that support young people’s physical and mental health – including many that have been put forward as a result of the personal experiences of M&S colleagues. People who work in retail will often tell you a store team is like a family – so when one of the family (or one of their family) is impacted by a health issue it’s unsurprising that the rest of the family want to do something good for a local organisation who has provided support and I’m so proud that my team help make that happen.

L-R: Stacy Walker (M&S Moseley), James Carnell (local gardener), Emily Channon (local student), Fergal Marrett (local student), Ryan Bourne (M&S Harborne), Carl Williams (Sense), Darren Price (M&S Harborne), Hope Vanstone (M&S Harborne), Dan Cartwright (M&S Harborne), Gaynor Beesley (M&S Moseley)

The week of action kicked off on Monday at Sense TouchBase Pears Centre in Birmingham, with colleagues from M&S Harborne and M&S Moseley (pictured) working alongside two volunteers from a local university to support with the creation of a sensory garden to be enjoyed by children, young people and adults in the local community who are deafblind or affected by complex disabilities. Our store manager of Harborne Darren summed it up best when he said the “small actions from lots of people creates a lasting impact” and that’s what as one big M&S team we’re hoping to do this week.

If you want to find out more look on social media for #MarksInAction.

Jo Daniels

Senior Community Manager, M&S

Jo previously worked at Business in the Community and heads up M&S’s community programmes including partnerships with MUSH, Power to Change and supports M&S stores to get more involved.

Read more posts

Climate Youth Group volunteers

‘Volunteering locally is a great way to create change and connect with others’

Monday 5th June

Hi, I’m Noama and I’ve been working at NCVO as...

Su, Alzheimer's Society Dementia Voice Volunteer

‘I feel so proud to be part of a special volunteering community’

Thursday 1st June

Hello! I’m Su, the network engagement officer for the Vision...

Helen, Carers Connecting SEN High Peak trustee

‘My fellow volunteers give so much to the High Peak community’

Thursday 1st June

My name’s Helen and I volunteer as trustee for small...