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Volunteer Days Paying Off

Volunteer Days Paying Off

As part of our commitment to social value, all our employees can take three, paid volunteer days per year. This can be through a company led initiative or something that is personal and meaningful to the individual.

Most recently we supported an opportunity with Yorkshire Wildlife Trust to plant trees at Wild Ingleborough. As a keen walker and fell runner, Steve Jack, Bid Writer was keen to take part and jumped at the chance.

The Trust sent some simple joining instructions to Steve and he met with the small number of volunteers in a parking area close to Ingleborough, which is one of Yorkshire’s celebrated ‘Three Peaks’. The group was were given a short briefing and demonstration, then hit the slopes to start work.

This type of conservation work is very dependent on willing volunteers, so the organisers want people to come back and help spread the word. The task on this day was to plant areas of willow ‘pegs’, pre-prepared cuttings, many of which will become trees and bushes, on the fell-side within the Southerscales Nature Reserve.

Selection of photos from the day on the hillside

Although Yorkshire’s Three Peaks occupy breath taking scenery – which ought to be lush, green and filled with flora and fauna – the reality is that high-intensity farming has stripped the land back to its bare bones. The project’s stakeholders, therefore, wish to bring back a wildlife-rich landscape with strong links to local heritage and communities. They plan to restore peatlands and expand native woodland, re-establishing the natural treeline, storing carbon and tackling the climate emergency. The aim is to create around 40 hectares of new woodland – half through natural regeneration and the rest by planting 30,000 trees. That’s where the willow peg planting came in!

Steve Jack, Bid Writer, AmcoGiffen

It was very different to sitting at a computer – which is how, I normally spend my working days. But it was invigorating to be surrounded by nature, and we soon fell into a satisfying rhythm: filling up our buckets with willow and heading out to the planting area; finding the most promising spots for willow to grow, usually damp areas by the becks and ghylls; then planting our ‘pegs’ while learning about the local environment from the two friendly leaders – Dwayne from Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and Adam from Natural England, whose organisations work closely together. I would absolutely do this again! It was a rewarding way to spend a day doing something completely different, and made an interesting change from my day job. I also got to meet some interesting people whose lives are very different to my own; so I’ll certainly be looking to make the most of my volunteering days during 2022.

There will be more opportunities for our people to volunteer for tree-planting as well other activities such as drystone walling, just with Yorkshire Wildlife Trust. We’re also working on other types of volunteering throughout the UK to make the most of the paid volunteer days that we offer.

These days are an important initiative, benefitting our people and our communities, they play an invaluable role in helping us to integrate our culture and behaviours both in and out of the workplace. 

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