On Monday 16th October 2017, 25 employees from 3M, an international technology company which makes industrial facial protection masks based in Newton Aycliffe, volunteered at Shildon Alive’s Community Garden, in partnership with Durham University Staff Volunteering.

Shildon Alive is a community based charity which offers a food bank, credit union and is a learning and resource hub which helps to build a network of support for people in and around Shildon. As well as their central hub, on Shildon high street, they also have two community gardens. These gardens are pivotal to the experience of both adults and children who are learning about sustainable living and food source and nutrition.

Over the course of the day the 3M team worked tirelessly to clear the garden of rubbish, erect a new children’s tool shed, clear all of the raised beds and top up with soil and manure as well as building compost bays, weeding and painting the fence.

The day was full of laughter and conversation and the volunteers enjoyed some positive team building. The volunteer team was made up of managers, operation and support staff from across the 3M site, which made the day an excellent opportunity to get to know employees from different areas.

Shirley Quinn, Shildon Mayor visited the site to thank everyone for their hard work and spoke to the team about the positive difference they had made to the garden for the Shildon Alive team and the youngsters and families who use it throughout the year.

Paula Nelson, Shildon Alive’s community project coordinator thanked all of the volunteers and staff from 3M and Durham University and welcomed them back to enjoy a spring BBQ.

3M enabled their staff, with assistance of Durham University Staff Volunteering (DUSV), to give over 168 hours to the local community, which is invaluable to any charity. DUSV offer a bespoke Employer Supported Volunteering Service to companies and organisations who wish to engage with their local area. If you would like more information please email Stacy Porter- community.engagement@durham.ac.uk.

For more information about getting involved at the community garden contact Shildon Alive on 01388417600.