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Staff swap the office for the outdoors, to help Lowestoft care farm

CEFAS Pathways volunteering

On a bright and sunny day in March a team from The Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) in Lowestoft joined a local charity, getting their hands dirty with some building projects.

Staff from CEFAS got away from their desks and pulled out their wellies to get involved at Pathways Care Farm in Lowestoft. The team were given the task of removing and replacing a gate, as well as weaving a new fence. The day proved to be a great opportunity for the team to come together outside of their normal work environment and use all their skills which would benefit the charity, as well as being great fun!

The idea had begun from CEFAS giving staff ‘volunteering days’ as an organisation, and then starting to look around the local area as to what they could get involved with. Keith Weston, Team Leader at CEFAS, said:

“It all started when the idea was floated ‘let’s do something local to the office’, so we got in touch with Community Action Suffolk (CAS), who have been excellent, they made it so easy for us to volunteer.”

The group had a look at a few different options in and around Lowestoft which CAS found for them, and from there they selected a day at Pathways. Keith adds:

“We chose Pathways because it’s exciting and new. It has been nice to work with a project from the start. It also felt like a good fit, between our work as scientists and conservationists.”

Carolyn Shaw, Volunteering Field Officer at CAS, said:

“This is a fantastic example of a local organisation getting involved within their community and utilising the volunteering days which their employer has gifted them. The staff have had a really enjoyable time, and Pathways have been able to complete more of the work that they are achieving by harnessing employee’s time.”

“This is something which CAS really believe is a great thing to do, skills which sit within the workplace during the day can be released and support local volunteer involving organisations to grow and develop their work. Whilst one off days are fantastic, there is also scope to look a longer term volunteering between employers, employees and charities.”

If you would like to know more about how employees can get involved in volunteering either within their working day, or at other times get in touch with the volunteering team on [email protected]