Published on: 8th September 2022
Hi, I’m Mike Smith, Operations Director at Frank.
Heard about CSR – Corporate Social Responsibility? We have been looking at ways in which we can embrace this movement. Fun runs completed and local charities supported by the fit ones amongst us (not me), I wanted to reach out to the local community we work in and see how we could support them with a few days of volunteering.
It was easier to find a brilliant candidate than I thought. Fletcher Moss Park in Didsbury is a very short walk form our new offices and whilst treating myself to lunch from the excellent café they have on site I noticed on the park keeper’s door was an email address for volunteers, bingo! An email or two with Declan (the head guy at the park) later, we had 2 days booked in during August. Why 2 days? Well, we needed to make sure that our clients and projects were still supported, hence carving the team up into 2 groups. As I organised the days, I thought it only right and proper for me to attend both!
Turning up at the park on day 1, which turned out to be the hottest day in August, Declan put us to work weeding out one of the main flower beds as you enter the park. Sweat pouring and backs already aching, he then moved us onto the fun activity of ‘Balsam bashing’. What is that? Apparently, it is a Himalayan weed which reproduces very quickly, and left unattended, takes over the park and prevents other plants such as orchids from receiving the light they require to flourish in the meadow areas of the park.
Gloves on, as there were a lot of nettles - wish we would have known in advance as shorts and t-shirts were being worn due to the heat! With gritted teeth and armed with a bamboo cane to reduce the nettles to a pulp, we jumped straight in. A very satisfying weeding operation, as they just popped out of the ground. Before we knew it we had cleared a large area of Balsam. Lunch in the park and then we continued in a new area. At the end of the day, the lady who owns the café had got wind of our day's activity and offered us all a free ice cream or ice lolly. These were gratefully received.
With the day 2 team we planted saplings and are all now looking forward to returning to the park in years to come to see these grow. The team had heard about the Balsam bashing from team 1 and were also very keen to get involved and in true team style see if we could clear an even larger area, which we did. People walking through the park would ask what we were doing and thank us for helping in the community, what better endorsement could you receive? More sweat and nettle stings (didn’t learn from day 1 and still had my shorts on) brought to close the end of 2 epic days volunteering.
Every team member who took part had a smile on their face all day, happy chat and banter filled the air and we all had a real sense of achievement at the end of the activity.
If you and your teams get a chance to do something similar, I would recommend you book something in ASAP.
Thanks to Declan at the Fletcher Moss Park and we will be returning!