Volunteers from Remploy swapped office wear for gardening attire and laptops for pruning shears as they rolled up their sleeves in support of the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.
The 40-strong team from Remploy’s Leicester headquarters provided their services as part of the organisation’s ‘Be the Change’ initiative, which encourages employees to offer practical support to charities and other community-led organisations.
“We wanted to do something that would involve everyone, including disabled colleagues,” said Caroline Richardson, Remploy’s senior support centre manager, who helped organise the volunteering day.
The gardening taskforce set about their job of trimming branches in a recently planted wood with energy and enthusiasm, as James Shallcross, assistant curator at the Arboretum explained.
“We have a large number of very young woods and we need to prune the trees to encourage them to grow tall and straight. The Remploy volunteers quickly sorted themselves into small teams and, with minimum tuition, were soon hard at work. The piles of cut timber started to grow and the rows of tree stems soon became more visible. By lunch the team had pruned over an acre of woodland.”
A relaxing lunch was followed by a chance to pause and reflect at some of the Arboretum’s more than 250 memorials to organisations and individuals that have served their country, including the armed services, the Salvation Army and the emergency services.
“By the time we had finished an afternoon pruning session, everyone was worn out but very proud of what they had achieved,” said Caroline. “It was a fantastic day that gave us all a chance to appreciate the importance of the Arboretum to the nation.”
Thanking Remploy for its support, James added: “Without volunteers we would not be able to afford to keep the woods in good order and let them develop into well managed maturity. The Remploy team tidied up half the wood for me, which was far more than I was expecting. I am looking forward to many more repeat visits.”
Picture caption: Remploy volunteers enjoy a well-earned break at the National Memorial Arboretum
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Notes to editors:
- In the last four years Remploy Employment Services has found more than 50,000 jobs in mainstream employment for people with a range of physical, sensory and mental disabilities and other disadvantages.
- Remploy is driven by the fundamental belief that every disabled person can, with appropriate support and specialist advice, secure sustainable employment.
- Employment Services has an increasing focus on providing specialist disability employment services to people with mental health conditions or learning disabilities
- It continues to invest in developing innovative approaches and services for employers which are cost effective and business efficient including consultancy and vocational rehabilitation services
- Remploy ES partners with more than 2,500 of the country’s biggest employers including BT, ASDA, Royal Mail, Sainsbury’s, the NHS and Marks & Spencer
- It operates a national network of more than 60 town and city centre recruitment branches and offices providing specialist recruitment and development services to job seekers
About the National Memorial Arboretum
- The National Memorial Arboretum is the UK’s year-round centre of remembrance, honouring the fallen and recognising service and sacrifice
- It commemorates and celebrates those who have given their lives in the service of their country and who have served and suffered as a result of conflict
- The Arboretum is a charity run by staff and volunteers and is part of The Royal British Legion family
- About 300,000 people a year visit the 150-acre Arboretum