On Friday 20 May 2016, 60 Cundall staff from across four of our UK offices took part in this year’s Give and Gain Day. As the UK’s only national day of employee volunteering, it was a great opportunity to support local projects and communities and contribute lots of hours to our 40,000 hours at 40 campaign – a Cundall 40th anniversary initiative.
Here are a few thoughts on the day from each of the teams.
Ruth Best, Graduate Engineer, Edinburgh – Beach clean-up in Firth the Forth
“When the Edinburgh office decided to participate in Give and Gain Day this year, the response was amazing – 17 eager volunteers signed up, which is over half of the office! We felt it was important to give back to the local community, so decided to participate in a beach clean-up at Granton, on the Forth Estuary.
The day itself was a huge success – we worked together with a representative from the ‘Forth Estuary Forum’, a local charity, to collect plastic and rubbish from the beach. It was difficult to hear about just how much plastic collects in the ocean every year and the effect it has on the marine population. It really highlighted the impact that we have on the environment and how essential it is that we lead responsible and sustainable lives.
The sheer amount of plastic on the beach seemed overwhelming at times, with more washing up as we progressed. But at the end of the day, the progress was noticeable – we had collected dozens of bin bags full of rubbish, along with half a dozen tyres, a couple of bicycles and a large section of plastic tubing. We even had a few local dog walkers come up to us and ask how they could participate in the future! As for us, we all really enjoyed the day – it was a brilliant way to give something back to the community, and we are all looking forward to Give and Gain Day 2017!”
Bianca Spoeala, Administrative Assistant, Manchester – Fletcher Moss Gardens
“Ten volunteers from our Manchester office along with another two groups from the local businesses have helped to create some pathways in the beautiful ‘Fletcher Moss gardens’ for the community. The plan for the day was to create a number of pathways in some stunning places of the park that were unfortunately too muddy to be visited. We were armed with garden gloves and filled with excitement.
We started building the pathways by outlining them with logs (heavy) that were manually moved to layout out the path, some of us grabbed the wheel barrels, while others grabbed the shovel and the rakes and started laying the wood chips. We went through two-tons of wood chips in less than two hours, Colin the coordinator said we were the fastest team he ever work with.
It was a really good teamwork and each and every one of us enjoyed the day tremendously. It felt really good helping to improve such a beautiful park and all of us agreed that we should do this type of activities more often. All in all it was a great day, with great company in a gorgeous park. I cannot wait for the next Cundall volunteering experience.”
Guy Morgan, Senior Engineer, Newcastle – Bede’s World
“The Newcastle office spent the day at ‘Bede’s World’ a local museum and visitor centre. The Cundall team of 15 was bolstered by another ten people from architects FaulknerBrowns and construction consultants Gleeds. The combined team worked together to build a viewpoint looking over the Tyne and to create fencing to separate a footpath from an animal enclosure. We were lucky to have brilliant weather.
The difference to these areas and the areas worked on by other companies taking part in the day was huge and will make a massive difference to the charity that will be running Bede’s World in the future. Everyone involved made a huge effort and really seemed to enjoy their day.”
Jigna Patel, Graphic Designer, London – Grow Wild’s Somerville Youth and Play Provision
“For this year’s Give and Gain day, we had the privilege of working and playing in one of the coolest playgrounds I have seen in a long while. The site was originally started by local families chipping in and creating a wonderful world for kids to escape to and with more funding the project has blossomed.
20 of us split off into groups and each team had clear objectives. Whether we were cleaning up spaces, painting walls, building ramps or weaving dens, everybody took real pride in the work they were doing and it was a real team effort. I think the success of the day is down to the good attitude of everybody involved and this resulted in us having a great sense of achievement.
I think that it is so important for businesses to support community projects such as this as we tend to forget how to give back to the community. With organised days like Give and Gain, people have the chance to share, learn skills and build strong relationships with others. There is something very honest and tangible about volunteering.”