BUPA boosts wildlife health in Surrey

Planting trees, building fences and creating wildlife habitat – office workers rolled up their sleeves and got stuck into a special ‘Environmental Challenge Day’ organised by Surrey Wildlife Trust.

A team of more than 130 staff from healthcare company Bupa UK braved muddy conditions to have fun in the fresh air at Norbury Park near Leatherhead, helping the Trust to manage the woodland for wildlife.

“Our aim today was to give something back to the community and to help others,” said Bupa’s Gina Smith, who helped organise the challenge day. “We’ve worked together and worked out and we feel so much better about ourselves. It’s been a great team building day and really good fun.” 

Julian Pimm-Smith is one of Bupa UK’s IT Directors: “We’ve had an absolutely amazing day - everyone mixed in, chatting and laughing. We’ve all come back muddy and happy and we’ll have some good stories to tell when we get back to the office. I hope we’ve achieved quite a lot for wildlife too!”

Most of the volunteers usually work at Bupa UK’s offices in Staines-upon-Thames, while others had travelled from bases in Manchester, Bristol and Leeds to take part in the team building session.

They planted hazel saplings to help restore an area of coppiced woodland and built a fence to protect the young trees from deer. One group helped create bare ground on chalk grassland to provide habitat for invertebrates and rare plant species, while others raked conifer branches into piles, to help restore the ground.

Surrey Wildlife Trust’s Estates Manager Leigh Thornton said the work was part of a programme of woodland management currently being carried out at Norbury Park, to improve the long-term health and quality of the woodland for wildlife.

“Days like these are essential for the Trust – we manage 8,000 hectares of land across Surrey and without volunteer help, we just couldn’t do it,” said Leigh. “We really rely on people coming in to give us a hand and big groups like Bupa are superb, because it means we can really make a difference quickly. 

“The teams were challenging each other and as time went on and they could see progress they were making, they were really keen. They were so pleased to be out of the office and doing something totally different in the outdoors – it’s been absolutely brilliant!”

Support from corporate partners through donations and volunteering makes a huge difference to the Trust and its work to manage Surrey’s precious countryside 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 our Environment Challenge Days? 

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