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Suffolk County Council’s Standards and Excellence Team help out at ActivGardens

Employer Supported Volunteering day

Staff from the Standards and Excellence team at Suffolk County Council helping out at ActivGardens
Much needed time to meet face to face after 2 years of remote team meetings through the Pandemic

Following two years of remote team meetings, the Standards and Excellence team at Suffolk County Council were looking for an opportunity to give back to the community and get together face to face as a team. The opportunity was facilitated by Community Action Suffolk and gave them the chance to volunteer with the local charity ActivLives.

Through Employer Supported Volunteering, these staff at Suffolk County Council were able to finally, meet together as a team, face to face.  They could reconnect with their colleagues and welcome new staff that had joined, since the Pandemic began. As a team, they felt that volunteering collaboratively together outdoors would be great for their mental health and wellbeing and at the same time would be supporting local good causes. 

Building practical skills and developing friendships at the People’s Community Gardens, Ipswich

The activities that they got involved with were at the People’s Community Garden at the Maidenhall Allotments, Ipswich. People of all ages and abilities can get together here, to develop and maintain an inspiring and fully accessible, green space run by ActivGardens. The charity provides placements for adults and young people to learn practical skills and to develop friendships. They also work with schools and colleges to help develop young people, to build their confidence and self-esteem and feel positive about their future.

The garden has lots of different areas and they were tasked with clearing and preparing the ground around the garden’s many beehives.

Ian Hirst, Operations Manager at ActivGardens, commented, “Depending on how you look at it, SCC’s volunteering day was really well timed as it took place just after Storm Dudley and Storm Eunice had battered Suffolk with gales and strong winds and it was still very stormy when they arrived! The team were great and worked really hard and made a great difference at the gardens”.

We really enjoyed being outside, especially when the sun came out

Kathryn Roper, the Senior Standards & Excellence Officer, explains that “They were really welcoming at the People’s Community Gardens. When we arrived they gave us a tour of the site to get us orientated. All the equipment was provided, and we managed to clear a large area around the beehives of weeds, twigs and branches during the day. We really enjoyed being outside and working together; especially when the sun came out and the surrounding trees offered some element of protection from the strong winds! There was a huge sense of achievement, as well as a good deal of competition as we dug out the weeds and cleared the area. We found it was a wonderful opportunity to make a difference for a charity that work in our area.”.  

Suffolk County Council provide up to two days to volunteer in the community

As part of Suffolk County Council’s Employee Volunteering Policy, all staff are able to take up to two days volunteering in the community. It is an opportunity for staff to do something different; to work with colleagues in a different space, on a different task, to meet face to face and to build bonds as a team, particularly with new colleagues.

For more information on Employer Supported Volunteering