Ben Bullas | Planning Account Executive

Since July, Leeds MediaCommers have been working with Benefacto, a corporate volunteering charity. Together, we look to improve community projects in the area by donating one day of volunteering each year.

This year, myself and a loyal team of MediaCommers used our volunteering hours to work with Hyde Park Source. They’re a charity who aims to improve the health and wellbeing of Leeds residents by connecting them with the environment.

For our volunteering, we gathered five co-workers at sunny Bracken Edge Primary School, where a new challenge awaited us: we needed to transform an abandoned school garden into a fun play area. Our Charities Project Coordinator and mentor, Pete, was there to give us our list of tasks for the day, of which included: repairing a shed roof, installing new planters, removing and re-surfacing wood-chip for paths, weeding, planting, and watering plants. Phew!

To get us started, Simon and Billy took on the vigorous task of carting the new wood chippings back and forth from the car park – a huge feat which resulted in a total distance of 9.4 miles covered by each volunteer! In the meantime, Bek, Rachael and I set about revitalising the garden which included redistributing the wood-chippings, removing rotten stools, and assembling a new shed roof in order to create a safer educational space for the children to use.

After a long day in the sun, it was fair to say that we had a super rewarding, albeit hugely tiring, day helping the school out.

“It was great to get out and get my hands dirty digging compost, laying wood chips and planting strawberries (I would like to go back and see how my strawberry babies are coming along!) You don’t realise that so many projects in and around the community rely solely on volunteers to make them happen, so it felt very rewarding to be a part of it.”

Rachel Simmonds – Head of Studio, MediaCom Create

During the summer, colleagues in Leeds have also volunteered for Job League (a charity helping young people get into work), St George’s Crypt (a charity supporting homeless people) and Leeds Black Elders Association.