08 February 2023

Building links with the community through education

Supporting the local community is a key element of Purmo Group’s sustainability strategy. Staff across Germany have been particularly active, helping some of the most vulnerable members of the community with vital skills. Here are just a few examples.

Every Wednesday morning between 10 and 12 you will find Renate Mittelstädt, who works in customer services at the Lilienthal plant, teaching refugees who have come to Germany to escape hardship, conflict or natural disaster. Often, they have no working knowledge of German, and the problem is compounded by the fact that many of them are unable to read or write, and have to be taught basic literacy as well as the spoken language.

There is a particular skill in teaching German to someone who has no knowledge of the language, and has literacy challenges, so Purmo Group paid for Renate to attend a course for the appropriate training. It also funded the purchase of books for the learning centre in Lilienthal. Renate has found the work to be enriching, saying: ‘It is a pleasure to be able to help. It cheers up my life.’

Providing resources for education

In Germany, staff from the Lilienthal plant have been volunteering to support both adults and children with their education.

Since February 2022, two employees, Sarah Smrzek and Sophie Meyer, have been volunteering for four hours a week at a local community hall where support is given to vulnerable children. These may be migrant children who speak no German, children with learning difficulties or simply children who come from disadvantaged backgrounds and have missed out on valuable learning at home.

The skills being taught range from the academic (such as literacy, numeracy or learning German) to the practical (such as cooking healthy food, social skills and table manners). The volunteers’ time is paid for by Purmo Group and they are given use of a company car to help them get there.

Ines Hieber, HR Manager for Austria and Germany said: ‘When Purmo Group announced that it would support volunteer work in the community, I asked for volunteers to come forward and I looked for suitable projects locally. The response from both staff and the local community has been wonderful, and I am delighted we are able to make such a positive difference to people’s lives.’