How volunteering for the Runswick Bay Rescue Boat helps Jo Leggett feel part of her community
In 1982, after staying up until 4 a.m. trying to rescue a family who had been stranded at sea, the villagers of Runswick Bay in North Yorkshire decided to form their own volunteer lifeboat service. Forty years later, the Runswick Bay Rescue Boat is still saving lives thanks to the diligent efforts of volunteers like Leidos' Jo Leggett, who started working as the charity's treasurer in 2018 after buying a static caravan in the village a few years earlier.
"Being the treasurer means I'm responsible for paying all the bills, doing the annual audits and filing the charity commission reports, but the big thing is the fundraising," Leggett explains. "We have the annual flag weekend, which includes a beach barbeque, a beef supper, a coffee morning, an auction and raffles. And then there's the winter ball, which is basically like organising a wedding every year."
Managing this degree of organisational commitment alongside her role on the service management team wouldn't be possible were it not for Leidos' dynamic working policy, which allows Leggett to work from her caravan in Runswick Bay or take a few hours off on a Thursday or Friday afternoon if she needs to set up for an event or deposit fundraising cash into the charity's bank account. Flexibility is a core element of Leidos' employee value proposition — the company has been empowering people to work flexibly for years.
Beyond dynamic working, Leggett's job has also supported her volunteering in more unexpected ways.
, Service Delivery Manager
I remember when we did a bid writing course at Leidos, and then about three weeks afterwards, I had to submit a bid to the Department for Transport on behalf of the charity,“ she says. “That course enabled me to write a superb bid, which resulted in us being awarded £72,000 to buy a new rescue boat.
Beyond the specifics of her own job, Leggett has also been able to draw on the expertise within Leidos' global employee network, as she did when looking for advice on how the rescue boat service might overcome signal issues with its VHF radios.
"I realised that at Leidos we have all of these computer and programming experts and people working with military clients who will understand this communications technology much better than I do," she explains. "So I posted a question about it on an employee forum, and I had some really helpful responses from people who'd worked with the RAF and the U.S. Air Force suggesting how we might get around the problems we were experiencing."
For all the logistical challenges involved in keeping a lifeboat charity financially afloat, Leggett feels that she is more than rewarded by the friends she has made through taking part in community fundraising events, from beach barbeques to raft-building competitions.
"All the fundraising is hard work, it's relentless, but the thing that really gets you is when you run into people whom the boat has saved," she says. "I recently met a lovely group of ladies who got into trouble while swimming and who would have died out there if we hadn't rescued them. The charity has benefited so many people, and for me personally, it's allowed me to really feel part of this lovely community in this gorgeous little bay."