The Kronos Volunteering Programme is in full swing. One of the beneficiaries for November was Dinton Pastures Country Park, near Reading.
Set in over 335 acres Dinton Pastures Country Park was opened to the public in 1979 after 14 years of gravel extraction, on a site which was previously farmland. Today the Park is enjoyed by several hundred thousand visitors annually and is a haven for wildlife. The Park offers a variety of habitats including 7 lakes, 2 rivers, and meadows. Three public bird hides provide secret viewing of the waterfowl, with one specially adapted for wheelchair users.
This particular project was to assist with the much needed clearance work around the park at the end of the growing seasons. The task for the team of Kronites was cutting down/cutting back trees to clear fence lines – a major task.
In the days running up to the event it looked like it was going to be a wet and muddy affair, having suffered relentless rain. Fortunately the high spirits of the team were further bolstered by a welcome break in the weather, a sight for not only sore eyes, but soon to be sore arms, legs, backs….
At first sight, the scale of the task looked daunting. Trees and brambles had overgrown a very long fence row by many feet. Although keen and eager the team questioned their ability to make a significant impact in the day. An inquisitive herd of cows, though clearly keen to help, added another element of challenge to the project.
However, it was fantastic to see what a great team we made when we got stuck in. Everyone worked extremely hard and with vigor, enthusiasm and determination. By lunchtime we had made a huge difference, having cleared nearly half the length of the field. I suspect a few of the team may have added a sharp saw to their Christmas list, such was the enthusiasm!
Feedback from Daniel Grimes, one of our IT team members, summed the day up very nicely:
“It was a very enjoyable day, I’m surprised they were so willing to let me loose with a saw, so I thought I’d take full advantage. The fact that that it was for a good cause made it much more worthwhile!”
I did think we might flag after lunch but everyone returned with renewed energy. By the end of the day we had reached the full length of the field, built two large bonfires and made a huge impact on the area.
This was such a rewarding experience. Not only are we giving something back to the community, we also get the privileged to work with a great team of people on a project different to our usual work.
I would highly recommend more organisations giving their staff a couple of paid time-off days during the year to work on community projects like this. The rewards for the employees, the community and the business are huge.
Bring on the next project!