Workers' 'time off' pays off for Sheffield communities

A great incentive launched by a Sheffield company that allows its workforce to volunteer in the community for three days each year is paying dividends.

By Sally Burton
Tuesday, 06 August, 2019, 16:45
Catherine Gasson puts heart in to her art for the Woodhouse community

Employees at Aviva can use the 21 hours allocated to them, to work on local volunteer projects of their own choice.

A group from Sheffield, with colleagues from Norwich offices, were signposted to Joan Longstone-Hull, a member of Woodhouse Volunteer Group, by Voluntary Matters.

This group forms part of the Woodhouse and District Community Forum.

Joan suggested that they should work a full day on the planter in Woodhouse Market Square, that had become an overgrown, littered eyesore.

The volunteers from Aviva worked hard on tasks such as painting faded bollards, removing weeds and gathering litter, trimming shrubs and preparing the planter soil for the ultimate sowing of a wildflower seed mix.

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Debris that they collected was removed by Parks and Public Realm, filling their flat bed truck three times.

Two female members of the Aviva team are artists, Emily Claxton, and Catherine Gasson who has an arts degree and a Masters in Graphic Design.

They took their own paints and brushes along with them, to brighten up existing white boards on the planter with a colourful series of wildlife images.

Helen Smithy, who runs Rags2Riches in Market Square, said she was amazed at how hard the volunteers had worked all day regardless of interruption from heavy showers.

Finally, the whole area looked much improved.