The trees were donated by the Woodland Trust as part of the Community Trees project. They were planted at the Forest School classroom area on Bidston Hill ready for Stream Education, in a new educational “forest schools” space for April 2012.
The trees planted ranged from two Diamond Jubilee Oaks, Cherry trees, Roan and Birch. To support the volunteers Veolia have also donated a range of tools to use on site. The hill has benefited from over 200 man hours from Veolia staff in 2011 and the sustainable project looks set to continue in 2012.
Previously Veolia staff carried out conservation work on the protected rare heathland on Bidston Hill. The area was overrun by the non native plant, European gorse, that the team helped clear.
Phil Gilmour, Veolia Environmental Services’ Regional Director said “We have grown a strong partnership with the team at Bidston Hill and we were pleased to use our volunteering time to roll up our sleeves and help plant trees. It is also a great opportunity for Veolia to engage with the local community”.
Nic Harding, Ranger for Bidston Hill said “This project is a great example of what can be achieved when organisations work cooperatively. Veolia have sent us 50 volunteers over the last few months as part of their commitment to improving local community areas like Bidston Hill and have given us over 200 hours of volunteering time which to us is priceless. Veolia also introduced us to the fantastic people from Wirral Mind, who have been working alongside the Friends, and the volunteer leader from Stream Education come rain or shine.”
Andy Gilbert from Wirral Mind discussed the benefits to the service users of projects such as these “As an organisation we are always looking for activities like this to get involved with because it promotes good health and wellbeing and improves people’s confidence. Everybody who helps on the hill, staff and service users included, talk about how revitalised they feel once they have been out for a couple of hours.”
As well as their time Veolia donated plant pots and compost and the remaining saplings from the planting went to the ‘adopt a tree’ scheme running at Liscard Primary school. The school has encouraged 140 eager children between the ages of 7 - 10 to take a tree home to nurture as part of their studies.
The volunteering is part of Veolia’s half day volunteering scheme to give something back to local communities all around the UK. All 12,000 members of staff are encouraged to spend half a day working in their local community or charitable organisation of their choice, amounting to 6,000 days each year across the whole company.
For more information about other volunteering schemes Veolia has supported, including the partnership with Mind visit www.veoliaenvironmentalservices.co.uk or follow us on twitter @veolia_es_uk #volunteers.