Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 09.22.04A group of Sunderland customer service workers have helped a popular local park prepare for the national Britain in Bloom competition.

The Helping Hands volunteer groups from EDF Energy picked up their gardening tools to tend to the grounds of Roker Park to help meet the standards set by the Royal Horticultural Society for the competition.

A total of 4,132 groups across the country are set to take part in this year’s Britain in Bloom campaign, and the team at Roker Park ensured the park was in first class condition to take on the competition.

Groups of staff volunteers from EDF Energy helped out at the park and donated approximately 540 hours of labour in the past year, getting their hands dirty on a range of maintenance work, including litter picking and horticultural work and removing weeds from flower beds, as well as tending to the children’s play areas.

Craig Wilson, customer relationship officer, at Sunderland Council said: “The Helping Hands teams from EDF Energy have done a great job. They carried out a wide range of essential activities to a very high standard that have made a real difference to the park’s appearance.

“The park is very well used and more and more events are being held here. We couldn’t maintain the park’s high standards without volunteer work, so we would like to thank EDF Energy for their time and effort in helping us.”

Roker Park has already gained a range of achievements, including maintaining its Green Flag status for ten years. The award is designed to be the benchmark of quality for parks and green spaces, guaranteeing that the area is welcoming, clean, well-maintained, safe and secure.

It also ensures the park area is managed sustainably and pays attention to the conservation of the natural and built environment.

Craig Wilkinson, learning and development specialist at EDF Energy, said; “Roker Park is a very popular park and everyone has their own memories here as a child, or as adults with their own children, so it is great that we can get involved in its upkeep.

“It is also very rewarding that our involvement helps to ensure recognition as one as one of the country’s best parks. As a Sunderland-based workforce, we not only enjoy the charitable aspect of our work at local places like this, but it is a great team building exercise too.”

The EDF Energy Helping Hands programme allows all 1,600 employees at Doxford to take up to two days paid leave every year to volunteer in the community. The projects they work on not only benefit local people, they also provide personal development and team-building opportunities for staff.