Sowing the seeds for Community Impact month
Friday 15th May 2017 marked the start of S&P Global’s Community Impact Month where staff from across the company will be making a real difference in the community. In East London, ELBA will be facilitating a variety of events with S&P Global from practical Team Challenges to skilled business volunteering. To kick off the month, a group of S&P Global employees took time from their busy schedules to bag seeds with one of ELBA’s community partners.
The bags of seeds will be given out at London Pride 2017 to promote community gardening to the LGBTQI+ community. There are obvious benefits of gardening for physical health with planting bulbs and digging trenches but gardening can also help with your mental health. It has been proven that chemicals in the soil help with the production of endorphins and as such make you happy. Growing plants gives us a sense of responsibility, something to nurture and helps us de-stress. Members of the LGBTQI+ community are more likely to suffer from mental health issues but are also underrepresented in the community gardening so the seed bags are a way to show that they can get involved in local projects and reap the benefits of horticulture.
Debbie Mitchener co-runs the Rainbow Grow gardening group for those who identify as LGBTQI+ and are interested in growing edible plants. She coordinated the S&P Global volunteers on Friday and they did a fantastic job bagging 15800 seeds into 790 bags – the aim is for at least 1000 bags to be given out on the day. Tying in with the Pride theme, the seeds will grow into colourful rainbow chard.
Debbie spoke about the impact that the volunteers have made, saying:
“The impact of being able to talk about community gardening to the people at S&P Global goes beyond the actual physical help of the seed bagging. Working with corporate volunteers helps to bridge a gap between people sometimes on the very margins of society and those whom appear to have more than the majority. At this particular event a representative of the LGBTQI+ community within S&P Global helped significantly and we have established an on going relationship to link up further.
On the practical side the amount of seeds bagged has helped us enormously in terms of time and saved me from going slightly insane counting out 20 seeds at a time. I cannot thank the employees enough for their time at this event.”
The S&P Global volunteers were also happy to get involved:
“It was a great pleasure to meet Debbie and provide support to their fantastic initiative. Here at S&P Global we are happy to contribute to projects that aim to bring LGBTQI+ mental health issues to the forefront and promote sustainability in the community. We are looking forward to distributing the bags during London Pride!”
Thank you to all the volunteers who will be getting involved with the local community over the coming weeks.