A tree-mendous day out for the Transport team
Catriona Barker and Claire Eagle from City Hall's Transport team recently volunteered with their colleagues to plant some trees, in advance of National Tree Planting Week. Here they write about their muddy but fulfilling day.
"On Friday 2 November, accompanied by our enthusiastic Deputy Mayor for Transport, Heidi Alexander, the Transport team ventured to Albert Road Recreation Ground in Haringey to volunteer for the day as part of the Big Tree Plant.
Our day began at 10am, when the team met for a cup of tea and a pastry in the cosy Pavilion Café. Suitably fed and watered, we were given a tour of the park, enjoying the bright sunshine and unseasonably warm weather.
Our tour ended at Rhodes Avenue School, where head teacher Shane Claridge turned us green with envy thinking about our own primary school experiences – none of us had had a vegetable garden, chickens to raise, and a forestry school to play in. It’s never too late though, so we joined some very competent Year 5 students in their forest school class, building some questionably stable structures. Some team members were more enthusiastic than others and it was difficult to move on.
Move on we had to, though, as it was time for the real work to begin. Five young and apprehensive-looking trees were handed over to our team and, with help from a ceremonial silver shovel we popped them into the ground. I’d invite all of you to visit the park to admire the straight(ish), evenly spaced Trevor, Ruby, Trudy, Plum and Atkinson (named for the Rowan tree; hold your groans please).
We attacked our lunch with gusto and spent the remainder of the afternoon patting mulch around other trees in the park, clearing dead brush from the pond, picking litter, and (for the more artistically inclined) drafting prototypes of a logo for the park. We had legitimately made a difference, we were reassured, as we munched cake at the end of the day. We had achieved in an afternoon what it would normally take their small volunteer team a weekend to do.
Our visit had been facilitated by the Friends of Albert Road Recreation Ground (FARRG), Ed Santry, Nature and Conservation Officer at Haringey Council, The Conservation Volunteers and Robby Sukhdeo, who founded the park’s Pavilion Café and made sure that we were all extremely well fed throughout the day.
The day provided a great opportunity to see the real impact that local community groups can make to their parks and green spaces. The hard work of FARRG, Ed, Robby and others has helped to develop a diverse collection of spaces at Albert Road and the number of people using the park throughout the day made it clear just how utilised and loved the park is by the local community.
As two of many new starters to the team, and with a relatively new Deputy Mayor, the day also provided a great opportunity to socialise away from our desks."
Find out if your employer offers volunteering leave and do something similar with your colleagues!
Click on the button below to find lots of opportunities on Team London's volunteering website.