Managers from community retailer The Midcounties Co-operative ditched their usual day jobs recently to spruce up the churchyard at St Leonard’s in Eynsham.
The six volunteers spent more than four hours one Saturday morning, clearing ivy and overgrown shrubs to reveal gravestones and a memorial which had remained hidden for many years.
The team was drawn from Midcounties retail, post office, travel, childcare and funeral trading sectors. The colleagues took on the challenge to help the church and as a way of getting to know each other better outside work.
Steve Chapman, head of Learning and Development and based at Midcounties Warwick headquarters, also volunteered his services. He said: “It was hard work but good fun. We enjoyed helping to tidy the churchyard and bringing long forgotten gravestones back into view.
“As a co-operative we believe in giving back to the communities where we trade. We heard the church needed a helping hand and we were happy to offer our services especially as this is also International Year of the Co-operatives and gave us an opportunity to show co-operative values in action.”
Churchwarden Mike Sinfield said: “We were very grateful for the Co-operative’s offer of help in clearing some of the ivy and undergrowth in our large churchyard. The volunteers did a fantastic job and the Church is very thankful for all the work that was done so cheerfully by them.”
Midcounties has an extensive colleague volunteer programme that takes on all types of challenges, to help not only local people and organisations but also the participants to develop personally and as a team. Each colleague can spend up to three days a year on volunteering activity as part of their paid work time.
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