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National Volunteers' Week: Thames Water staff give back to their communities

Friday 4th June 2021 14:08

Four people clear pond weed

Himalayan Balsam bashing, student interviews and pond cleaning – these are just some of the ways Thames Water employees used their time to help others as the company looks back at its National Volunteers’ Week celebrations.

The pandemic may have made it difficult to volunteer in groups, but this has not stopped the company’s front line and office staff helping their local communities and charities when it was safe to do so.  

Over the last year 123 staff were able to give back through volunteering and many more also supported Thames Water’s education team with virtual events for primary and secondary schools. Some of these good deeds include:

  • On May 27, Thames Water’s corporate responsibility team visited Wellington Country Park near Reading, to take part in Himalayan Balsam bashing – a practice which helps remove the invasive flower species. Himalayan Balsam is native to the Himalayan region in Asia and was introduced to gardens in 1839. It can rapidly grow and spread, often invading wet habitats, and can cause the decline of other native flowers.
  • In March, 11 volunteers took part in mock interviews to help Year 11 students at Maiden Erlegh School in Earley, Reading, prepare for their future careers and the world of work. The Thames Water group included marketing managers responsible for its ‘Bin it – don’t block it’ customer campaigns, business risk analysts and resilience leads, and graduate trainees. 
  • Last October, in between the Covid-19 lockdowns, 17 people helped clear a lake of pond weed at Adderbury Lake Nature Reserve, in Banbury Oxfordshire.

Claire Iredale, Thames Water’s charities and volunteering co-ordinator, said “Volunteering is incredibly important. It’s a great way for us to give practical help in the communities we serve, help others and gain new skills and experience. We’re proud of our volunteering at Thames Water and we’ve worked hard to make it as easy as possible for our staff to give back to causes they care about.

National Volunteers’ Week takes place from June 1-7 every year. It's a chance to recognise the fantastic contribution volunteers make to our communities and say thank you.

Studies have shown volunteering can help improve the volunteer's wellbeing and Thames Water actively encourages its employees to get involved in good causes.

The company’s staff can use two Time-to-Give days a year to help support charities, community groups, school, scout groups and make a difference in the local community.

Thames Water regularly works in partnership with Connect Reading, which organises the twice-yearly Reading RESCUE (Rivers and Environmental Spaces Clean Up Event), which has been running since 1989.