Severn Trent’s Community Champions celebrates its first birthday!

Thursday 22nd February 2018

Two thousand volunteers from Severn Trent have cleaned up more than 30 miles of rivers in the past year as part of a company-wide volunteering scheme.

The company launched the Community Champions scheme one year ago to provide employees with opportunities to volunteer and help make a real difference in the local communities in which it operates.

Leanne Town, Volunteering Community Officer at Severn Trent, said, “When we launched the Community Champions last year, we really didn’t expect it to be as big of a success as it has been.

“We’re big believers in volunteering, so it’s amazing that everyone’s really got behind the programme, and we’re really proud of the huge differences we’ve made in such a short amount of time.”

The Community Champions scheme encourages every member of staff to spend two working days a year volunteering in local communities across the company’s region, which covers most of the Midlands and into mid-Wales.

Leanne explains: “In just 12 months our volunteers have cleared more than 30 miles of river, enhanced our amazing visitor sites and also supported three awesome charities. We’ve had just under 2,000 of our employees giving nearly 14,000 hours of their time to volunteer and give back to the community, which is just amazing!”

Severn Trent’s Community Champions’ programme works alongside key partners The Canals & Rivers Trust, Waterside Care, Wildlife Trust and The Severn and Trent Rivers Trust, and aims to help keep rivers healthy as well as improving local environments.

The company also supports WaterAid, and, in the last year, has been picked to host call centres for Comic Relief and Children in Need, as well as being chosen to be a call centre for Sport Relief next month.

“We’re really excited to be going into our second year of Community Champions,” added Leanne. “Following the past year’s success, we’re really hopeful that we’ll have more employees sign up, so we can continue to make such a huge, positive difference to our local communities.”

Ian Jelly, Director of Living Landscapes for the Wildlife Trust, said: “Warwickshire Wildlife Trust is a leading local environmental charity working across Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull.  As such we work with a range of business to help them deliver their CSR needs. Severn Trent’s Community Champions programme is the benchmark that we set all the other organizations that we work with. It is an excellent programme that is really well structured.

“It helps the organization to deliver its needs along with the charities. So, Severn Trent get the benefit of their staff’s mental health and well-being and evidence that they are able to deliver in their local community. Whilst at the same time it helps us manage our sites and deliver tangible outcomes to benefit wildlife and the people that live across our area.

“We would strongly endorse the Severn Trent approach and hope that all other business follow suit on the program that they deliver.”

Lee Copplestone, Project Officer for WatersideCare said, “WatersideCare have been working with Severn Trent Community Champions since April 2017 and it’s proved a very enjoyable and successful process. Community Champions have been working alongside WatersideCare volunteers complimenting the work they do as well as filling the gaps working at sites where local community engagement has been difficult to establish. Twenty volunteers or more working together can achieve so much.  We are very much looking forward to doing the same in the coming year.”

Mark Hudson, Dee Invasive Species Officer for the North Wales wildlife Trust said, “2018 will be our second year of working with Severn Trent Community Champions Scheme. The volunteers have been assisting the Dee Invasive Non-native Species project by removing Himalayan Balsam from key locations in Wales on the River Dee. This invasive plant is taking over the river banks of the Dee and is smothering out our native plants – which reduces habitat for our insects and wildlife. This year with the help of Severn Trent/Dee Valley Water we anticipating clearing approximately 9 mile of river bank of this in