Giving back to the community is great feeling, especially when you get to do so for a great cause.
For us, charity work is a win-win for all involved, even more so when it’s actively encouraged in the workplace. As part of the Morgan McKinley Million target we're lucky enough to be given two days a year to volunteer for any worthy cause and with Benefacto there to help, it makes it a lot easier to find a cause that you care about and can enjoy helping out. Seeing as it is coming into the summer months we were keen to find an outdoor activity and Roots and Shoots seemed like a great choice.
Roots and Shoots provides vocational training for young people from the inner city, mainly from the London boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark. On arrival we met Linda, who founded Roots and shoots in 1982. Linda with the help of her staff, does an amazing job of running the charity. She talked us through some of the initiatives and the groups they help and we were astounded how far reaching there work is. From the local school children who might not get a chance to do any gardening, understand plants and vegetables and how they end up on the supermarket shelves through to providing a therapeutic sessions for refugees who have had tough upbringings. It seems almost every part of society is benefiting from their work but their main aim is to provide young people with the skills and self confidence needed to help them in the future.
So where could we help? Cue a group of six recruitment consultants with almost no gardening experience. However, it turns out there's plenty we could do to help (all with varying degrees of success!). We started the day by sorting through a ton of home made compost which can be very time consuming but the six of us made light work of it once we got a system going. We then spent the afternoon topping up soil in the essential parts of the gardens and then through to replanting a number of beds with some new plants. Last but not least, we took on a mammoth challenge and attempted to put a halt to the bindweed - apparently a challenge we were destined to lose but we made a valiant attempt nonetheless.
Overall it was a really enjoyable day, a nice change of routine, we had the chance to get to know colleagues better, especially after we all helped in giving a frog a noble send off and hopefully we made a small contribution towards all the good work that goes on at Roots and Shoots. The only downside were the few thorns embedded in your fingers but the pain is easily washed away with a well earned beer at the end of the day. If you have a few hours or a day free why not lend a hand yourself?