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Corporate volunteering: It’s the real thing 

 

Over the last few months, a small group of enthusiastic volunteers have been working with Northumberland Rivers Trust to transform a little piece of Northumberland.

Middleton North is a small estate in the heart of Northumberland located 9 miles West of Morpeth. It currently comprises a mixture of arable, pasture, woodland and a stretch of the river Wansbeck. The owners, Charlotte and Charlie Bennett, are passionate about wildlife and are working hard to make their business sustainable and to promote good practise.

Partnering with Northumberland Rivers Trust has meant that targeted habitat restoration and creation also acts to improve water quality, reduce flood risk, and create new wetland habitats.

Key to this has been the involvement of volunteers, including the team from the Coca Cola bottling plant who have swapped their normal 9-5 for a hard day planting trees or building hides for wildlife watching.

The weather has not put anybody off, even the odd rainy or wintry day! Arriving with a smile and leaving with a satisfied grin on the face is everybody’s experience. In between is a day full of banter and gentle learning and at the end, looking on back on what has been done is genuinely rewarding for the participant and the “team”. Most want to come back again and this starts to build the volunteer support that many organisations need in order to achieve their aims.

NRT, for instance, has only two staff, employed one day a week, but deliver a huge range of works across Northumberland, many due to the efforts of volunteers, including its Trustees.

Corporate volunteering is a great way for employees to make a difference, whatever the size of the organisation. The business benefits too, through greater employee engagement, better relationships and developing strong links within the local community.

Of course, seeing is believing and one cannot be anything but impressed with the 3000 trees and 19 wetlands that have been completed to date. Thanks to those volunteers.

Steve Lowe

Northumberland Rivers Trust

 

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