Sage staff in Gateshead lend a hand


SAGE Gateshead swapped the office environment for a taste of the outdoors recently when they volunteered with Thrive in Saltwell Park.

Thrive uses gardening to bring about positive changes in the lives of people living with disabilities or ill health, or people who are isolated, disadvantaged or vulnerable.

The charity has been running its popular corporate volunteering days for some years in its other regional centres in the UK and regularly takes bookings from companies looking to leave the world of office work for wellies, waterproofs and even waders!

A Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) day provides a great way for companies to demonstrate how they take a positive, responsible and active part in helping local people close to where they operate.

Nineteen staff from international software company Sage visited the charity’s gardens in Saltwell Park, Gateshead, worked outdoors and were shown how people with disabilities can achieve much more than they think by learning techniques and gaining confidence that enables them to live active, productive lives.

Thrive finds that this can provide teams who visit with the opportunity to reflect on how looking at things differently to solve problems can make a difference to what they can achieve.

Syed Rahman from Sage said: "We had a great time and it’s really is a wonderful thing that Thrive does.

"Thank you for having us – it was an experience we thoroughly enjoyed and would recommend to other companies in the area to fulfil their own CSR commitment."

Peter James, Business Development Co-ordinator at Thrive, said: "We make all our CSR days fun! Volunteers from Sage got stuck in to varied and practical outdoor springtime tasks including clearing paths by weeding and sweeping, creating a leaf mould bin, clearing borders, filling water butts and painting fences.

"No previous experience is required to take part in a CSR day and the groups are supervised with full health and safety briefings given.  We also make sure there are tasks for everyone - whether they would like to do 'tough’ stuff like clearing ponds or cleaning greenhouses, or more gentle work such as weeding or sorting pots.

"The work our visiting corporate groups like Sage carry out makes an enormous difference to Thrive. There are always regular maintenance tasks that are too complex or too time-consuming for our client gardeners to do, and from time to time we have major clearance or improvement projects that require a concerted effort."

The corporate day at Thrive was supported by the North East Chamber of Commerce and Julie Digman, Essentials Membership Manager, said: "We are really pleased to have been able to help this great organisation establish itself in the North East business community.  

"The benefits companies get from working with Thrive on their corporate volunteering days will be numerous and at the same time the people doing the work know they are supporting a really worthwhile cause."

For more information on corporate volunteering days at Thrive please email or call on 0118 988 5688.