The past few months have been pretty busy for the Fordway team. Back when the weather was slightly warmer, Fordway spent the day helping to look after rescued horses who are now safe, loved and cared for at Mane Chance Sanctuary.
From caring for horses to a more recent venture where the team spent the day protecting habitats at Horsell Common, Fordway is committed to supporting the local community and helping to create a more sustainable future.
Here, we reveal what the volunteering experience was like for our team, so if you’re thinking of taking a day to escape the office and do something fun whilst giving back, you know what to expect.
In the summer, the team headed to the heart of Surrey to visit Mane Chance Sanctuary. The sanctuary is a real gem, with a mission to rescue and rehabilitate abused, abandoned and old horses, and integrate them with the local community.
The team were kept busy painting fences, weeding the garden, moving hay and clearing Yew which had been cut down from one of the fields (poisonous to horses).
Nicky Brooks, Community Supervisor thanked the group and said ‘The Fordway team achieved so much, beyond my expectations. We are always so grateful to the corporate volunteers and love to have them’.
Mane Chance Sanctuary offers regular hours each week or on a monthly basis for corporate volunteering days as well as working with local schools offering MAD days (make a difference) introducing young people to volunteering, giving them the opportunity to help with jobs on-site and meet the horses. The organisation also provides a location for scout and guides to gain their volunteering badges with a meeting at the Sanctuary. To find out more about how you can help, click here.
Fast forward to Horsell Common, where employees from our sales team, operations and sales desk teams headed out to a beautiful woodland just outside of Woking to support a rare and precious healthland habitat. Rupert Millican, the Senior Ranger at Horsell Common, said “The team spent the day removing scrub from heathland to prevent it from reverting to woodland. Many thanks to them for all their hard work; it was a pleasure to have them, and they got loads of essential habitat maintenance work done.”
We were joined by some new faces after the success of the last event, which is always encouraged. ‘It was a real eye opener’, said Shaida Mahmood, one of our Service Desk engineers, ‘I never knew how reliant the Rangers are on volunteers to keep the ecosystem and preservation of the land from being jeopardised for the endangered species. It was a lot of hard work but very rewarding!’’
Home to thousands of rare species of plants, insects, reptiles, and birds, the common is also home to a very distinctive small grazing herd of Belted Galloway Cattle, who help to maintain the habitat. Kathi, Fordway HR Manager, one of the volunteers said, ‘They were extremely interested in what we were doing and stayed with us for most of our time there!’
When asked about her personal experience, Kathi said it was hard work but worth it. ‘We were each given a (really heavy!) tool called a tree popper which we used to remove invasive tree saplings and scrub, namely Silver Birch and Scots Pine. Although the area we cleared was relatively small, according to the Ranger, every little bit of clearing makes a huge difference to the total common area of 1,000 acres.
Our hard work meant that the pile of saplings which we pulled out will no longer develop into trees. We are told that without volunteers, keeping this under control would be impossible.’
We also caught up with Ashley Denness, Fordway’s New Business Team Leader who joined on the day. He said ‘’My feet and legs may have suffered, but it was a great day…
The Ranger we had was highly knowledgeable, especially around the ongoing work they have to do to maintain the sites in its preserved status and avoid the building companies getting hold of the land. Ash Ranges are my local woods and it’s a similar ecosystem to Horsell Common, prior to yesterday I didn’t know nor appreciate the work that goes in to maintaining and preserving these sites. Even with support from volunteers and corporate days, I don’t envy the two staff having to keep on top of everything!
A team of Ecological Surveyors from Natural England also survey the site (I believe it’s once a year) and they survey a square metre of the common to identify all the Flora and Fauna within that square metre, they must conform to strict guidance on the quantity of heaths and trees growing to maintain their status as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The work we did was to remove the trees and help them meet this guidance.’’
Overall, it’s safe to say the team have really enjoyed both days so far. It’s important to provide the opportunity for the team to get out and work in the open air and be physically active (which is especially relevant for IT technicians who are often stuck behind a desk!). We’re also pleased to have been able to support important conservation work so we can continue to enjoy the beautiful Surrey woodlands and its inhabitants for years to come.
For more information about Horsell Common and how you can volunteer, please click here.
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From getting to know our customers and understanding their needs, to enabling users and their organisations to do more with less, people are at the heart of what we do. We’re proud of the people that we work with and that means we are committed to helping them reach their full potential. If this sounds like the kind of place you’d like to work, then get in touch with us today.