Stuart Furneaux gives back to the community
In April 2014 Search Consultancy launched a new company-wide charity initiative known as One Day, whereby all Search staff are provided with the opportunity to apply for one day's paid leave which can be spent volunteering at a registered charity of their choice.
For his One Day initiative, Stuart Furneaux, Senior Divisional Manager for Accountancy and HR in Brighton, volunteered his time towards gardening and maintenance services for the Chestnut Treehouse hospice in Brighton.
“The primary reason why this cause appealed to me is because I have children of my own, and Chestnut Treehouse hospice goes above and beyond in caring for children up to the age of 19 who are terminally ill,” he says.
According to figures published on the charity’s website, there are potentially 1,000 families with life-limited children in Sussex. Chestnut Tree House offers support for the whole family including psychological and bereavement support, end of life and short break care and sibling support.
Although it was hard work, Stuart maintains that the rewards of giving back to the community far surpassed any physical discomfort, saying, “I soon learned that the upkeep of their site costs Chestnut Treehouse Hospice £3.5 million every single year, and that the volunteer contributions they received saved them approximately £18,000 last year. I was really incentivised to put my back into the day when I saw how every contribution adds up. Whether it be donations of money or time, they go a long way in helping the hospice improve the quality of life for terminally ill children."
In addition to volunteering at Chestnut Treehouse hospice, Stuart also hosted the Macmillan workshop in Haywards Heath, whereby employers and HR representatives were given a valuable insight into how to compassionately, practically and legally manage a cancer diagnosis in the workplace.
There are currently 2.5 million people living with cancer in the UK, over 700,000 of which are people of working age living with a cancer diagnosis, while an average of 100,000 of working age are diagnosed with cancer each year.
Although cancer is classed as a disability under the Equality Act, a recent study by Macmillan has reported that 47 percent of cancer patients had no choice but to give up work or change their roles as a result of their diagnosis.
18 percent of employees with a cancer diagnosis still faced discrimination in the workplace, while 35 percent reported negative experiences such as a loss of confidence and feelings of guilt for taking time off for medical appointments.
Stuart says that he was surprised to discover that nearly 50 percent of his attendees had no idea that cancer was classed as a disability. “Furthermore, they had little to no knowledge of what the legal and practical obligations were for employers and HR representatives in the event of an employee being diagnosed with cancer. The opportunity to assist in delivering such valuable information regarding how to manage cancer in the workplace, was a real privilege,” he continues.
We at Search are proud to have Stuart Furneaux as a leader in corporate responsibility, and hope that his story inspires others who are in a position of influence to give back to the community.