Let's hear it for the volunteers

We're celebrating #VolunteerRecognitionDay


Today is #VolunteerRecognitionDay and a time to celebrate all those amazing people who give up their time to help others. Volunteering is very close to our hearts at Camelot and plays an important role in our daily mission to change lives. We offer all employees two days per year to volunteer with a charity or Good Cause of their choice and we’re always impressed by the number of people who sign up to get involved. As well as offering direct help on a practical level, volunteering allows our employees to feel better connected to the Good Causes that are supported by National Lottery funding and highlights the importance of what we do and why we do it.

Earlier this year, the Player Services team headed to Manchester for a team volunteer day. Jo, Player Services Administrator, reveals what they got up to...

As the sun rose over Manchester, the Player Services team were strapping on their wellies and waterproofs in preparation for visiting Sale Water Park and the fantastic Conservation Volunteers.

Knowing the day ahead would involve some outdoor work, we were delighted to watch the rain turn to sleet and the sleet turn to snow. We managed to persuade the taxi driver to crank up the radio and indulged in some carpool karaoke to get us pumped up.

On arrival at the park, in the shadow of the M60 motorway, we were greeted by the wonderful Ali from The Conservation Volunteers (TCV). She explained the importance of the work TCV do by allowing the local environment to flourish and providing opportunities for members of the local community - particularly young people - to engage with nature.

Our task for the day was to learn about – and do – some traditional coppicing. As we enjoyed a walk through the forest, Ali explained that coppicing is an ancient technique that allows for the continual renewal of woodland by repetitive felling of the same stump to allow regrowth.

Split into smaller teams, each group was led to our own stump. Our team decided that “go big or go home” was an excellent strategy and set about sawing the biggest tree we could find.

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We realised our mistake when Ali explained that felled logs aren’t just left lying around. There was more sawing to be done and we learnt how to fashion nesting environments by weaving smaller branches and twigs together.

Suddenly, we were greeted by a thermos of hot water that had sensibly been brought along, meaning it was time for a cup of tea, a biscuit and a welcome opportunity to warm up.

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For lunch, we were treated to an absolute feast provided by Back On Track Manchester, who work with people who are going through a process of recovery or rehabilitation because of problems with alcohol, drugs, offending, homelessness and/or mental health. Their dedicated catering arm – Swan Kitchens – delivered direct to the Water Park visitor centre and we couldn’t have expected a more marvellous pack up from our mums.

After lunch, the rain stopped and the sun came out so we headed back down to the coppice patch with renewed energy and set about lopping with gusto. By the end of the afternoon, we were staggered by how much we’d achieved; over twenty new nesting areas for the wildlife and a refreshed coppice to be enjoyed by generations for tens, hundreds and possibly even thousands of years.

Patting ourselves on the back for a great day’s work, it was truly the moment to reflect on the fact that people like Ali and her band of volunteers are out in the elements all the time and how grateful we should be to them. With organisations like TCV Finding it harder and harder to secure funding from other sources, it was an important reminder of how National Lottery Funding can support marvellous causes such as this.

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Well done to the Player Services team for braving the cold weather to support TCV. Check back here for more volunteer stories from Camelot soon and check out our current vacancies here.

 

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