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Eco warriors improve park life

23 May 2014

Office of Social Responsibility and Directorate of Human Resources help the Debdale Eco Centre

Give and Gain Day

Bathed in sunshine next to the beautiful Gorton Reservoir, two teams of University colleagues volunteered at the Debdale Eco Centre in Gorton.

They were the Office of Social Responsibility team, Julian Skyrme, Aneez Esmail, Suzanne Spicer, Lisa Govey, James Hopkins and Lucy Wainwright with Chris Cutts and James Thompson, and the Directorate of Human Resources team, Patrick Johnson, Joanne Taylor, Joanne Davidson, Natalie Thompson-Vassel, Catherine Appleton, Vicki Cooper, Sue Field, Lisa Roach, Eva Azariah, Em Hunter and Jayne Kavanagh.

The Centre is located in Debdale Park and focuses on organic gardening. It aims to encourage and support local food growing within the community through events, training courses and a network of volunteers.

The teams worked alongside another Give and Gain Day team, from a company based in Stockport.

Half of us weeded and tidied up hedges and borders across the site. We battled with the gallium aparine or sticky weed and some of the nettles fought back and give us a memento of the day - ouch!

Others undertook more strenuous jobs and tidied up industrial-sized compost bays and prepared ground for the planting of sapling trees. In all cases it was very satisfying to actually see the impact of our hard work.

For all of us it was a very positive experience (even for us inexperienced gardeners) and a great opportunity to develop as a team. We also met and worked with colleagues we did not know. It was refreshing working outside in a different context whilst putting something back into a community in Manchester. The warm sunny weather also helped.

Charlotte, from the Centre, was so welcoming and shared her knowledge with those of us who were inexperienced gardeners. She was amazed at how much we accomplished and greatly appreciated our help.

It was a fun rewarding day for everyone. We would recommend getting involved in this international volunteering day and are looking forward to taking part next year.