A team of volunteers, known as Community Ambassadors, was set up by Swire Properties in 2001. Participants engage in various activities, from organising children's outings to taking care of the elderly. 'At the time it was set up we had 40 members providing services to NGOs [non-governmental organisations] in Hong Kong,' Swire Properties head of public affairs Miranda Szeto said. 'We have just celebrated our sixth anniversary, and the team has expanded to more than 500 members. Included are not just our staff, but family, friends and other colleagues from the Swire Group.' At first, ambassadors played a relatively passive role, organising programmes suggested by the NGOs. They have now taken on a more proactive role. 'They are organising programmes for the whole year, and we partner with the NGOs to provide services to their recipients. We can make use of the resources from the company and do something that is more unusual.' An example of this is the 'Green Ambassadors' who work with a youth group on environmental issues. 'They look after a group of children, teaching them something related to environmental protection and, at the same time, take these children to provide services to underprivileged elderly people,' Ms Szeto said. 'The mission statement for this team of volunteers is Building an Integrated Community, which means we are not a stand-alone unit. We help each other and we share our resources.' Many of the activities that volunteers engage in require skills and techniques that they may not have. Workshops are held to train them in such areas as presentation skills, magic, balloon twisting, how to operate wheelchairs, handicrafts and soap-making. 'Some of the programmes are so popular that they are oversubscribed and we have to draw lots to see who can take part. 'Whoever organises an activity would take the lead, whether it is a secretary, a clerk or an officer. Those who take part in the activity might be in more senior positions, but they would still take directions from the programme's officer,' Ms Szeto said.