Volunteers dig deep to help environmental project

South Tyneside Mayoress Stella Matthewson, Clair Willcock of DWF Solicitors and Mayor Coun Fay Cunningham.
South Tyneside Mayoress Stella Matthewson, Clair Willcock of DWF Solicitors and Mayor Coun Fay Cunningham.
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Volunteers from 10 of the North-East’s leading businesses rolled up their sleeves to help out at South Tyneside environmental project.

As part of national Give and Gain Day 2015, run by the charity Business in the Community (BITC), 160 people mucked in to help make improvements at West Boldon Lodge.

David Gibson gets on with stick bundle duties at West Boldon Lodge.

David Gibson gets on with stick bundle duties at West Boldon Lodge.

The companies gave their staff time off to volunteer at the venue – an environmental education centre run by charity Groundwork South Tyneside and Newcastle (STAN) in partnership with National Grid and South Tyneside Council.

The event, on Friday, is the UK’s biggest day of employee volunteering.

Staff from Groundwork (STAN), AF Blakemore Gates, Grainger, CAB, Sage UK, Hay & Kilner, DWF, Gentoo, Pentiar, Lloyds and Foundation Futures all helped out to create an allotment in a day – which included making an outdoor fairy garden, hobbit house and new footbridge.

Andrew Watts, executive director of Groundwork STAN, who had 20 volunteers managing the activities, said: “Give and Gain Day is an excellent way for organisations to work together for the common good of the community.

Skilled volunteers are a lifeline for community organisations hit by cuts, yet as our research shows there is more to be done to embed volunteering as part of everyday business.

Liz Needleman, area director, BITC England East

“That they make a real difference has been seen in the great work they have done this year at West Boldon Lodge, a hugely valuable education centre and outdoor resource.

“Similarly, Groundwork South Tyneside and Newcastle is committed to working to bring about positive and lasting change and improvement to the environment in which it works.

“The shared goals of Groundwork and Business in the Community are making a real difference and that is why I am delighted that Groundwork has supported this year’s Give and Gain Day.”

Liz Needleman, area director of BITC England East, said: “Skilled volunteers are a lifeline for community organisations hit by cuts, yet as our research shows there is more to be done to embed volunteering as part of everyday business.

Volunteers are vital to the success of Give and Gain Day.

Volunteers are vital to the success of Give and Gain Day.

“The companies that took part today are beacons of best practice in helping to build a fairer society and more sustainable communities.

“We urge many more business to get involved in volunteering and ask those who are involved to use it as a springboard into deeper long term business engagement in their local area.”

David Summerfayes from DWF solicitors gets to work.

David Summerfayes from DWF solicitors gets to work.

Groundwork's Jasmine Baise gets into the groove.

Groundwork's Jasmine Baise gets into the groove.

A volunteer helps out at West Boldon Lodge.

A volunteer helps out at West Boldon Lodge.

Grainger's Hannah Pollard hammers home her point.

Grainger's Hannah Pollard hammers home her point.