GCHQ Community Day - a chance to applaud our volunteers and charity work
News article - 16 Oct 2015
GCHQ welcomed representatives from the local area to a Community Day event at its Cheltenham headquarters on Friday 16 October.
Enthusiasm and commitment is at the core of Community Day, giving staff the opportunity to exhibit the volunteering and charity work they do in and around Gloucestershire.
Director GCHQ, Robert Hannigan said, "Community Day is a chance for us to celebrate the deep roots our staff and their families have here. The same people who are dealing with complex challenges of keeping our country safe are also contributing to the local community, not least in volunteering for a wide range of local charities. Whether at work or at home our staff want to make a difference and in that spirit we welcome community leaders and representatives of schools, charities and local organisations."
GCHQ staff give their free time to volunteering for a wide variety of charities, such as the Cheltenham Food Bank, Sea Cadets, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, Samaritans, and County Community Projects, plus a range of other deserving causes.
GCHQ Outreach work was also exhibited amongst the 40 stands. Promoting languages and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects in schools, the GCHQ School Languages and STEM teams’ work was on display, as it is much in demand. Maths and Paired reading stands showed how they help children to develop a wider appreciation of these subjects, by arranging sessions and events at local schools.
GCHQ’s Outreach Co-ordinator said, "Community Day is always such an uplifting event. This is our third Community Day and the biggest to date, a fantastic showcase to celebrate the marvellous charitable and voluntary work that is done by so many people across GCHQ."
For the first time guests had an opportunity to attend a Cyber Security demonstration which gave guidance of how to protect themselves online. They were shown different methods of cyber attack used by cyber criminals to circumvent outdated and unsupported computer software products and security. The demonstration explored how easy it is for people to make simple mistakes that can have implications for individuals and organisations.
Over the last three years, GCHQ staff have raised in excess of £400,000 for charities and good causes. This year alone nearly £100,000 has been raised through various events such as raffles, BBQs, sponsored running, walking and cycling and of course the most popular - cake sales.