Private Lives - CSR day: Castle Hill community gardens

09 January 2020

The sun shines on the righteous, they say! It certainly shone on us for our CSR day at Castle Hill Community Garden.

Birketts award their staff an annual CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) day to conduct voluntary work in the community.  Cynically, this could be viewed as nothing more than a PR exercise, but the reality is so much more than that.  While Birketts continues to expand and work with individuals and companies on a local, national and international level, its roots have always been in the communities making up East Anglia.  Not only is it where the offices are based, but it is where the staff live and work - we all want our communities to thrive.

Members of our Tax and Trusts Team, along with colleagues from other departments, recently enjoyed a CSR day at the Castle Hill Community Gardens, a project launched by the NW Ipswich Big Local Trust in April 2018.  The gardens were set up to boost health and well-being in the community.  It is well-used and much loved by many, but as with so many charitable ventures, time to complete essential improvements is in short supply.

That was where we came in. As soon as the most crucial task of the day was underway (the first round of tea and coffee!), the team got to work.  Tasks to be undertaken included weeding, edging and turning over the many beds of vegetable and flowers, painting planks ready for raised beds and, perhaps most crucially, digging the recess for a new  wheelchair-friendly pathway to be laid. 

The garden is used by many, including a lady who is confined to a wheelchair. The Trust is building the wheelchair-friendly path to enable full access to the site, including their purpose-built work table.  Without this path, access is impossible in the winter months and makes even the best of conditions tricky.  As the site is gradually improved, they will be able to share all that the garden has to offer with a wider group of people, in turn making it more beneficial to a wider audience.

We were visited during the day by a representative from Community Action Suffolk, who had arranged the event.  He was very impressed by the Birketts staff not only on this project, but the many others that staff around the firm have been involved in.  He knows very well what the work means to the people who use the services and it was clear to see that they were touched by the effort that was being made.
By the end of the day, the site looked very different to how it had started out. Not only was it all far tidier, there were now deep gullies ready for the next stage of work on the path to progress towards completion.

As we all trudged down to the gate at the end of the day, achy and exhausted, our overriding feeling was happiness.  What could be better than a days’ hard graft in the sun knowing that you and your colleagues have contributed to a project that fills others with joy and will help to bring a community together?

This article is from the winter 2019 / 2020 issue of Private Lives, our newsletter covering the key legal and tax issues that individuals face. To download the latest issue, please visit the newsletter section of our website. 

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