For the second year running, we were delighted to welcome a group from the company Elanco for their annual Staff Volunteer Day. Last year they spent the day helping us cut an enormous section of our willowbeds which we harvest on rotation. This year, there was something quite different which we needed their help with.
At Paccombe Farm, home to over 300 donkeys and our Training Centre, there lies a large pond set within a 90 acre woodland, and on the edge of this pond sits a small summerhouse which has a touching past. Our Founder, Elisabeth Svendsen (affectionately called "Dr S"), used to write here whilst enjoying the tranquil woodland surroundings. The years have taken their toll on the summerhouse and it was in need of some serious TLC.
After a cup of tea to recharge following their long journeys, the team from Elanco set to work. The summerhouse was scrubbed, cleaned, painted inside and out, re-roofed with felt, and the overgrown and encroaching brambles and ivy were cut back. What a difference!
The summerhouse can now be used by people working in the woodland and it is good to know that this little spot which has been loved by Dr S and many people who have worked for and supported the Sanctuary has been so wonderfully restored and can now be enjoyed again.
What do the donkeys think? Well one of the tasks which was leapt upon was coppicing an adjacent hazel stool, so a few donkeys could happily munch and play with the off-cuts. Others appreciated the attention and back-scratches from the team!
This is the kind of project which we can’t carry out without the enthusiasm, good humour and time of volunteers - a really big thank you to Mairi and her fantastic colleagues who did such an amazing job.
If your company or organisation would like to donate staff time for you to spend the day with us, helping with a project like this or carrying out practical conservation work, please get in touch with Ruth at firstname.lastname@example.org.