Volunteers from a community retailer swopped groceries for gardening when they went to help at a Swindon school.
Five colleagues from The Midcounties Co-operative’s Shrivenham store, plus Midcounties’ Community Co-ordinator Vicky Powell, spent the day at Churchfields Academy to erect a polytunnel in the school’s eco garden.
The group took on the challenge to help the school to increase biodiversity in the nature area and attract more wildlife. The link-up was arranged through Business in the Community.
Team leader Anastasia Ham said: “It was very enjoyable and we had a great day. We dug a trench and put up the polytunnel and managed to complete our task. Some of the students also came along to give us support.
“Our challenges are a way of getting together as a team to do something different and to give back to the local community. We hope we can return to Churchfields Academy to help in the future too.”
The school set up the eco garden in its grounds a year ago. With its pond, wild flower area and natural habitat it provides both an area for wildlife and a resource for students.
Science teacher and eco co-ordinator Mekela Lee said: “We really appreciate the help of the Midcounties volunteers. They worked hard and did an excellent job. The eco garden supports our new GCSE environment and land based science course. It is also part of our drive to increase environmental awareness and achieve the ‘Green flag’ status in the Eco Schools Award scheme.”
The Midcounties’ Shrivenham store re-opened on 6 October after a refurbishment. Midcounties has an extensive colleague volunteer programme that takes on all types of challenges to assist local people and organisations and to help the participants to develop personally and as a team. Each colleague can spend up to three days a year on volunteering activity as part of their paid work time
Last year across Midcounties’ trading areas they delivered 26,000 hours of support in response to local needs.
Pictured top, back from left are Cindy Purchase, Matt Burgess, Suzanne James, Mekela Lee, Vicky Powell, Aiden Mansfield and Team Leader Anastasia Ham. Foreground from left are George Bates, Melissa Wickens and Boris Smit.
Pictured bottom, from left are Matt Burgess, Cindy Purchase, Aiden Mansfield, Anastasia Ham, George Bates and Suzanne James.