Forging community connections

Raytheon UK ignites social change through passionate volunteering

Manraj, a business relationship manager in the Raytheon UK Digital Technology team, was drawn to volunteering as it enables him to be an active member of the local community and foster positive social change. 

He holds a firm belief that many community organisations would be unsustainable without the helping hands of volunteers. 

“Through volunteering, we are not only bolstering their initiatives, but we are also saving them money and enabling them to reinvest into the local communities that they serve,” said Manraj. 

As well as tidying up local areas, Manraj recently spent a day with a group of volunteering colleagues breathing new life into the Harlow Museum & Walled Gardens, a repository of over 1,000 years of local history. The landmark building, also home to three historical gardens spread across two acres of lush green space, was in dire need of maintenance and renovation. 

The primary tasks for Raytheon UK volunteers were painting the museum’s interior and organising artefacts, which presented some unexpected technical challenges. 

The museum had a small IT network that had never been shut down or unplugged, for fear of causing damage. There wasn’t an onsite IT helpdesk. This meant that the team had to gingerly move the computers, monitors and networking equipment onto a trolley and paint around them, all the while trying to avoid stepping on cables. This made the task rather cumbersome, prompting Manraj to make a bold decision. 

“I opted to unplug all the IT equipment, hoping it would work again once we put it all back together. The museum staff were aghast, and I was gritting my teeth,” he said.

Fortunately, Manraj and his team managed to get all the museum’s computers back online. They also tidied up the IT equipment cables and rearranged the desks to create a more efficient workspace. 

“The staff were very appreciative and even wanted to onboard me as their new IT helpdesk assistant. However, I offered them a free workshop on IT best practices, and they were more than happy with that,” said Manraj.

 Raytheon UK Volunteers_Cockney Pie and Mash_Singalong

Raytheon UK colleagues entertain 160 Harlow pensioners at a pie ‘n’ mash social event.

Jo – Old fashioned East End hospitality

Jo credits Raytheon UK for enabling her to balance her busy work life with volunteering. 

Despite her packed schedule, Jo’s list of volunteering activities is impressive, ranging from community gardening and painting fences to decorating, litter picking and, most recently, hosting a drinks and pie ‘n’ mash social event for 160 Harlow pensioners.

“It’s amazing that Raytheon UK lets me support local causes during my working week,” she said. “It also helps having a supportive manager who ensures my tasks are current or covered while I’m out of the office,” said Jo, Raytheon UK Sensors, senior project administrator. 

While she’s generally open to all volunteering opportunities, Jo said she particularly gravitates to those that involve her passions of animal welfare, exercise and physical activity. 

“Digging holes, climbing ladders, clearing rubble and painting walls for instance is perfect for me,” she said.

Jo has been able to bring the communication and multi-tasking skills she has honed in her office role to volunteering, but she’s also acquired new skills along the way. 

“Volunteering has developed my project management skills as it involves listening to what is needed and working as a team to deliver the task to the best of everyone’s abilities. To do that, you need to identify each other’s strengths and skills very quickly,” she said.

Volunteering has proven to be a humbling experience for Jo (pictured below): “Meeting the amazing people that spend their time solely dedicated to helping others, and being able to personally give back myself, makes me feel a more integral part of the community.” 

RUK_Volunteering_Litter Picking

Raytheon UK volunteers lend community support where it's needed most. Jo (back row, far left), Manraj (front row, middle) and Eruke (front row, far right) pictured with colleagues during a litter-picking exercise in Harlow, Essex.

Eruke – Championing the environment

Eruke, who joined Raytheon UK’s Digital Technology team less than a year ago as its head of Project Portfolio Management, has swiftly and enthusiastically embraced the company’s culture of corporate social responsibility.

“Helping others and giving back to communities serves as a reminder that there is more to life than just yourself. I believe we are all part of one big family, and we should act as such,” she said. 

So far, Eruke has been involved in litter-picking and is eagerly looking forward to more planned volunteering activities with her team and the broader Digital Technology function. 

“The litter-picking exercise had a direct impact on the community where our head office is situated. We picked up a lot of plastic, providing huge environmental benefits – preventing the plastic from breaking down and entering the food chain,” said Eruke. 

“By clearing the area, we’re hopefully deterring further littering, and the community benefits from the cleaner environment as a result,” she added 

Eruke is actively seeking volunteering opportunities that she can participate in when she is visiting the company’s regional sites. “It makes sense to spend a few extra hours at a site I’ve already travelled to for a meeting, or even extend the site visit by an extra day to benefit communities outside my own,” she said.

Impacting social and environmental change

Volunteering is a key part of well-being and the Raytheon UK employee experience. Activities are available year-round under Raytheon UK’s Forward Steps corporate social responsibility programme, and Connect Up, an RTX global initiative with similar goals.

“Forward Steps and Connect Up are more than in-house corporate initiatives. They are collaborative programmes that are helping to impact social value and environmental change that will benefit future generations,” said Raytheon UK’s CSR Lead Joseph Drugan. “This begins by enabling employees to volunteer their time to the causes most close to their hearts.”

“We are so pleased with the refreshed look of the galleries and are getting used to our desk layout, which is still a bit of a shock, like a makeover programme where you think you have walked into someone else’s house and garden. It’s all so much better, and we are grateful to your [Raytheon UK] colleagues.”
Harlow Museum & Walled Gardens