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VolkerRail holds biggest volunteering activity in its history

On Friday 12 August, VolkerRail took part in its biggest ever volunteering activity at Brockholes Nature Reserve in Preston.

VolkerRail, a leading multidisciplinary railway infrastructure contractor based in Doncaster, hosted the volunteering activity as an extension to its safety stand down event, which brings teams together to raise the importance of site safety, and employee mental health and wellbeing.

The volunteering event was led by the company’s power division, and was the largest of its kind in the business’ history, with over 70 employees, based across several high-profile power upgrade projects throughout the UK, coming together to help plan, organise and undertake maintenance work at the nature reserve.

Originally an old sand and gravel quarry, Brockholes is now a beautiful 250-acre nature reserve, that has been part of the Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside Wildlife Trust since 2005. In 2011, the reserve opened its visitor village, which has since had over two million visitors, who have explored the wide variety of attractions on offer, including walks along the River Ribble, and around its lakes and its ancient woodland.

As part of the volunteering, teams worked alongside staff at the reserve to build flower planters and bird boxes, undertake compound clearing and seed gathering, sand and paint the village’s picnic tables and undertake extensive Crassula removal.

Crassula is a non-native aquatic plant, that can reproduce rapidly and creates a "carpet" on the water surface, which can disrupt the balance of the ecosystem, as the weed can completely overtake any surrounding areas, blocking out light for other vegetation to grow.

In total, over 180 hours of volunteering was recorded. The division also hosted a charity raffle, raising over £130 for MacMillan Cancer Support, and donated over 100 items of food to Preston Community Hub Foodbank.

Commenting on the event, Pete Baverstock, general manager for VolkerRail’s power division, said: “Events such as these are extremely important to VolkerRail to ensure we give back to the communities in which we work. They also help bring our division together, creating our own community, and allowing teams, who do not get to see each other often, to work together and contribute to VolkerRail’s commitment to establishing meaningful relationships with charitable bodies and local communities. This provides mutually beneficial opportunities, as part of our People-Planet-Purpose’ sustainability framework”.

Tim Burrows, head of people engagement at Lancashire Wildlife Trust, said: “As a charity, it’s important that we have as much help and support as possible, as it allows us to do the things that our small maintenance teams simply don’t get around to doing. Organisations such as VolkerRail really made a big difference to us, and we are extremely grateful to everyone who has taken part. Thank you.”