Top Surrey Companies Enjoy Wild Christmas Charity Do!

Thursday 14th December 2017

Employees enjoy a wild Christmas do! Photo: Marcus WehrleEmployees enjoy a wild Christmas do! Photo: Marcus Wehrle

Chopping back trees, burning scrub and toasting marshmallows – office workers from some of Surrey’s biggest companies got stuck into a wild Christmas do with a difference, organised by Surrey Wildlife Trust.

‘Pine and Dine’ was a fun corporate Christmas challenge day held on rare lowland heathland at Barossa, near Camberley – an MOD training site, which is a haven for birds. Volunteers braved the chilly weather in gloves and Santa hats to help chop down invasive Scots pine trees, before burning the scrub on a huge warming bonfire. 

More than 100 staff came from companies including Toyota in Epsom, Fidelity International in Lower Kingswood, Ward Williams Financial Services in Weybridge, Siemens UK in Frimley and WWF UK in Woking. 

Ben Habgood, the Trust’s Grazing Officer who manages Barossa, said: “Our fantastic corporate volunteers hand cut lot of Scots pine, which is an invasive species. We cleared it and burned it, to leave a nice clear area of mature heather, which will encourage Dartford warblers, nightjars and hopefully woodlark to nest next summer.

“It’s great to get the chance to meet our corporate supporters and to have a good chat with them about our conservation work. It’s a chance for them to work in the great outdoors, get some fresh air and have a sense of a job well done.”

The volunteers tucked into a hearty lunch in the fresh air, while enjoying toasted marshmallows and mulled cider. Some also cut their own Christmas trees to take home and made festive wreaths using natural materials.
Mark Robbins from Fidelity International said the alternative Christmas party was part of the company’s community work project, which encouraged staff to give something back to charity.

“We weren’t entirely sure what to expect, as it’s the first time we’ve done anything like this,” he said. “But it’s been fantastic fun - very hard work but extremely rewarding. I’ve really enjoyed the teamwork and what we’ve managed to achieve between us today is amazing!”

Cliff Pocock from Ward Williams added: “It’s easy to just send some money, but I think it’s really good to get your hands dirty, as it were, with the charity you support. It’s really great being out in the open and doing something helpful for the community - the team have really enjoyed it!”

Janet Pearce from Siemens UK said staff were given two volunteering days a year and the Pine and Dine event had been a great team-building exercise: “Getting out in the fresh air and doing something for the community is fantastic - everyone mucks in and it’s been nice to integrate a new girl into the team. And I love animals, it’s outside and it’s local!”

Support from corporate partners through donations and volunteering events makes a huge difference to the Trust and its work to manage Surrey’s environment for wildlife.

If your business is interested in making a difference, why not sign up as a Corporate Partner or Sponsor or get stuck into one of the Trust’s environment challenge days? For more information on being a corporate supporter visit our supporter pages here.To find out more about becoming a wildlife trust volunteer click here >>

Tagged with: Business, Events & Shows, Fundraising, Living Landscapes, Species, Volunteering