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The Property Maintenance People

PPM team celebrate Volunteers Week 

Our PPM team have been enjoying taking part in several volunteering projects in the local communities that we work within in Cumbria and Yorkshire to celebrate Volunteers Week.

Volunteers Week takes place 1st - 7th June every year. It is a chance to recognise the fantastic contribution volunteers make to our communities and say thank you.  Here at PPM, we also used it as an opportunity to get our PPM Volunteering Scheme back in full swing following many of the COVID restrictions being lifted.

PPM offer all our employees a day’s leave each year to volunteer for a charity or organisation of their choice or alternatively get involved in projects identified in our local areas that will benefit our communities and the environment.  

Our first session of the week was with the Workington Nature Partnership.  The partnership is a joint venture between Allerdale Borough Council and Workington Town Council, supporting the natural environment in and around Workington. It does this by undertaking a wide range of conservation activities on their nature reserves, parks, open spaces, woodlands, and access networks.  The initiative also provides a great opportunity for volunteers of all ages and abilities to get involved in improving the land on their doorstep.

We worked alongside Nature Ranger, Susan Cammish, and some other regular volunteers at the site of the former Bankfield Mansion on Newlands Lane in Workington.  The mansion is no longer there but there are beautiful grounds and woodlands that were part of the estate which unfortunately are regularly vandalized and littered.  We had a good clean up of litter and smashed glass bottles supporting the Keep Britain Tidy, ‘Great British Spring Clean’, celebrated between 28th May and 13th June.    

We then did some plug planting in the wonderful wildflower meadow that has been seeded for the ‘Get Cumbria Buzzing’ initiative.  The aim of this project is to create 115 hectares of wildflower rich habitat across North-West Cumbria to help boost pollinators.  Our wild pollinators are in trouble. More than half of UK bee, butterfly and moth species have declined in the past 50 years, and 30 species of bees’ face extinction. Over the last 75 years we have lost 97% of our flower rich meadows, 50% of our hedgerows, and 60% of flowering plants are in decline*, which is why this planting is so important.

In the afternoon, we moved to Hall Park, to hand pull some dreaded Himalayan balsam.  This problem weed grows rapidly and spreads quickly, smothering other vegetation as it goes.  There is plenty of it just in the park area, but we worked hard to clear a large area using careful, controlled methods to ensure it does not spread further.  

Charlotte, our Accounts Assistant, who took part in the session said “It was a great experience to be able to get involved and help the community, from litter picking around the grounds to planting wildflowers helping attract bees and insects into the area. It is lovely to see how the community and volunteers come together to help maintain the amazing locations which they have.”

We continued our conservation work later in the week with the BEES Bradford group in their beautiful orchard at Bowling Park, Bradford. This is a real haven for both the local community & wildlife.  Julia & Amanda, the leaders from BEES, were brilliant and so knowledgeable.  We helped with clearing grass under the fruit trees and setting up a natural willow framed, netted area to protect the fruit on the flourishing gooseberry bushes.

BEES (Bradford Environmental Education Service) is the environmental department of City of Bradford YMCA.  They offer a broad range of environmental education opportunities to young people, individuals, community groups, schools, and businesses; enabling and inspiring people to make a positive contribution to their local environment, develop skills and explore the natural environment.

One of our operatives Shaun who took part in the volunteering said “It’s brilliant to be given the opportunity to do something different to our normal day.  We were doing a bathroom renovation in a house close by the other week and I didn’t even realise the orchard was here.  It’s been good to meet the other volunteers and even speak to people from other offices at PPM that I’ve not met before.”  

We have also been volunteering with Carlisle Community Help group weekly since March last year, at the beginning of the pandemic.  We collect and deliver shopping and prescriptions for people shielding or isolating in the city and surrounding areas.  It is so heart-warming to see the smiling faces of the recipients who often haven’t seen or spoken to anyone for some time.   

The group have also set up a network of hubs across the city to address the needs of affordable food in Carlisle, supporting communities with good quality produce at an affordable price, on a long term or emergency basis.  This also helps protect our environment by selling more local food and reducing waste by working with supermarkets to support better practices and cutting food miles.    

To learn more about Carlisle Community Help group please follow this link – www.carlislecommunityhelp.co.uk

*Cumbria Wildlife Trust - www.cumbriawildlifetrust.org.uk/getcumbriabuzzing

 

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