During September we arranged several volunteering opportunities for our team to get involved with. Inspired by our visit to Exeter Volunteer Fayre back in May, and newly armed with the contact details of several local charities, we wanted to get out of the office and do something positive in the local community.
Week 1 – https://moortrees.org/ Weeding & Seeding
We already knew the team over at Moor Trees from our Plant-A-Pitch tree planting campaign which we ran with them during the 2022 World Cup. In the first week of September a small contingent went out to their Broadley tree nursery to spend a morning weeding out a number of their covered seed beds. They then moved on to the fiddly business of collecting tiny seeds from individual rowanberries. Due to the harvest of rowanberries being so low this year, Moor Trees did not want to use their usual method of soaking them in buckets and then sieving for seeds, as this can mean missing out on quite a few and with them being so precious, they needed to harvest as many as possible.
Week 2 – https://rspca-littlevalley.org.uk/ – Painting for Pups!
Little Valley is an animal shelter based on the outskirts of Exeter. We met them at the Volunteer Fayre and knew that it was a cause that many members of our team would be interested in being involved with. The group that went along did a number of jobs which included laying gravel to help make a fence more secure, repainting the doggy sand pit in the animal play garden and giving a number of gates and sheds a fresh coat of paint. Once the hard work was done the deputy shelter manager gave a tour of the site and explained a little bit about how long the animals typically stay at Little Valley, how much capacity they have and their plans for future renovations. The afternoon finished with some well-earned tea and cake and short talk from the shelter CEO.
Week 3 – https://parklifeheavitree.org.uk/ – Local Litter Picking
We had two events planned for this week: park maintenance with Park Life and gardening at the FORCE Cancer therapy garden. Sadly, on the day we were due to go to FORCE some inconsiderate inclement weather meant we had to postpone. We did manage to get a group of 3 people down to Heavitree Park later in the week to do some litter picking. Several members of our team live in the Heavitree area and so it felt natural to dedicate some of our volunteering time to a cause that is so local to us. As well as the usual crisp packets and plastic bottles, some of the more unusual items collected included a golf club, a shoe and a gate post!
Week 4 – https://stpetrocks.org.uk/ Ready Steady Cook
In collaboration with the catering team at Oxygen House, for the final week of Volunteer September we took over the office kitchen and made meals for St Petrock’s to distribute to the homeless and vulnerably housed in Exeter. Our deputy head chef Mark led the team in making a chilli-heavy lentil daal and a slab of chocolate cake big enough to feed approximately 25 people. With half of the team making the main and the other half the pudding, it really was a (very friendly) battle of the red tomatoes Vs the green peppers. The finished meals were stored overnight and dropped off at St Petrock’s the following morning (see pic below) for their case workers to distribute that day. This session proved so popular that we are looking at running one again before the year is out.
We’re thrilled to have had over a third of the company sign up for one of the Volunteer September activities. There was lots of enthusiasm throughout the month and a good effort made in every session, despite gardening, painting, and cooking not being the natural remit of many of us! A final thank you to our director team for allowing us to take time out of our working day to get involved with these amazing local charities.