The OCF team was very sorry to hear that one of our cherished volunteers passed away this week. Sarah Hodgkinson was an influential figure for our Reciprocate responsible business group, showing local companies how they could share their time and skills with the community effectively.

Sarah brought valuable expertise from her career as an HR consultant and as founder of volunteering charity Getting on Board, which matches employee volunteers with trustee board opportunities. She was passionate about the potential of business volunteers to share their professional skills and experience with local charities in a long term and meaningful way – and in a way that would bring significant benefits for the individuals in terms of their personal development, and for the business in terms their organisational capacity.

On moving to Oxfordshire in 2016, Sarah quickly got involved with several charity and community initiatives in the county, and shared her extensive expertise and knowledge generously with OCF and Reciprocate by running several workshops for businesses interested in boosting employee volunteering. She talked to employees about how skills-based volunteering could help them increase their confidence, enhance their talents and give them greater leadership potential.

Sarah Hodgkinson prersentingShe later helped OCF develop our Reciprocate Employee Volunteering Best-Practice Handbook, and was part of the organising team for our Corporate Muscle Symposium in April 2018, which brought together over 100 local businesspeople at the Sultan Nazrin Shah Centre at Worcester College interested in volunteering in Oxfordshire. The event showcased the experience of senior businesspeople who had gained personal and professional development as a result of volunteering as charity trustees, and several key speakers were contacts from Sarah’s extensive network. The symposium included an interactive workshop run by Sarah: ‘What’s in it for me? How sharing your time, talent and skills will boost your career’.

Most recently, Sarah has helped local charity Oxford Hub develop their Young Trustees Programme, and worked closely with Maggie’s Oxford to create a new workshop for businesses on how to support employees with cancer. The first workshop ran earlier this month with very positive feedback from participants, and Maggie’s will continue to run further sessions with the support of OCF and Reciprocate.

OCF’s Chief Executive Jayne Woodley says: “We are so sad to lose Sarah, who was much-loved and an inspiration to all of us. Her positivity and stoicism were remarkable, and she was always fantastic company. She never let her own cancer diagnosis get in the way of her enthusiasm for her lifelong interest in personal development and community support. Throughout her illness Sarah continued to attend our Reciprocate steering group meetings, make many helpful introductions, and come up with new ideas for projects, so her contribution was incredible – even keeping in contact with us from hospital right up until she passed away peacefully at home.

“She will be remembered extremely fondly by all of us, and the thoughts of OCF and the Reciprocate committee are with Sarah’s husband George and their family at this sad time.”