If ‘many hands make light work’ then imagine what 3,200 hands can do? That’s exactly the number of hands from Prologis’ offices across the globe that took part in Impact Day, the company’s annual day of service, on May 18th.
This is the sixth year that Prologis has held its annual Impact Day and, in the UK, we were proud to support two charities. In Solihull, the team worked with Happyfields Animals Sanctuary, whilst the London office chose to spend the day at The Bridge, a free school, funded by Government, that looks after 18 children, severely impacted by autism.
Happyfields Animals Sanctuary
Prologis Solihull was introduced to Happyfields Animal Sanctuary by Love Brum, a Birmingham-based charity that supports ‘hard to reach’ projects: those causes that might otherwise be overlooked but which make a valuable contribution to local communities. As a patron of Love Brum, we asked the charity to suggest a project where employees could make a real difference and Happyfields Animal Sanctuary was chosen, not only for its work in rescuing and rehabilitating animals in need but also because of the positive impact the sanctuary has on the lives of those with physical and learning disabilities.
Wayne Porter from Prologis Solihull was one of the first people to visit Happyfields and, following a long, cold and very wet winter, he was under no illusion about the task that lay ahead:
“The first thing that struck me was the lack of access for people with pushchairs or wheelchairs,” he recalls. “The ground was waterlogged and full of deep ruts where a tractor had been used to deliver much-needed feed for the animals.
“It was clear that a one-day project would only scratch the surface and that the charity was in need of a new access path, a car park area, new fencing, an outdoor classroom, an outdoor shelter for its donkeys and basic feed, tools and equipment.”
Fortunately, at Prologis UK we have a trusted and long-standing relationship with our supply chain and we turned to Bromsgrove-based Whitings Landscape to see if they could lend a hand. With their help, we were able to start preliminary work on-site a few days before Impact Day, meaning we could deliver everything the charity needed.
The goodwill of our supply chain didn’t stop there, however, and in the weeks leading-up to Impact Day more of our suppliers came forwards with offers of donations. The team at Concept Signs donated a new information sign for the sanctuary, Readie Construction donated a ride-on lawn tractor, Benniman Construction donated a gazebo and Winvic, CA Group, Hormann and Delta Planning donated much-needed feed, wheelbarrows, tools and animal pens.
On Impact Day, thirty employees from Prologis Solihull turned-up ready for action and spent the day creating paths, repairing fencing, building a field shelter and creating the outdoor classroom area. At the end of the day, the transformation was incredible and was testament to the fact that, when we work together, we can be a force for good in local communities.
“How do I describe this most amazing chapter for Happyfields after a week of watching such hard-working people transform our humble run-down animal sanctuary into a place of beauty,” Said Christine Bowles, founder of Happyfields Animal Sanctuary. “Not only our dear residents will benefit, but our supporters and visitors too.
“We can’t begin to show our gratitude and simply saying ‘thank you’ feels vastly inadequate. Because of what you have all done for us, Happyfields Animal Sanctuary has not only received much needed practical help, but now looks welcoming and professional. This in turn means more visitors, which equals more support.”
Martina Malone from the London office of Prologis UK was moved by a day spent volunteering with colleagues at The Bridge, a free school, funded by Government, that looks after 18 children, severely impacted by autism:
“Only four of the children could communicate verbally, the other children communicated in their own, very special ways,” Martina recalls. “There were twice as many staff as children in the school which allowed children to be looked after in a very special way.
“The teachers at The Bridge view each child as an individual and see it as their job to relentlessly support every little step of progress each of these children can make at their own speed without being pressurised, but encouraged and motivated by those people who truly care for them.”
Throughout the day, each member of the London team was allocated to a classroom, assisting the teachers in looking after the children, participating in their learning activities and catering to their needs.
Much is made of the positive difference volunteering can make to charities and local communities, but volunteering can also be incredibly beneficial for employees and enrich their lives in unexpected ways. And, on this note, we will leave the last word to Martina Malone from the London office:
“As much as our team tried to support the children and the wonderful and caring staff during Impact Day and, as much have I taken away from this experience into my own life. I am humbled as a human being and have learnt again how beautiful life can be if you allow yourself to see without judgment, to understand, to connect, and to try and make a change to someone, somewhere. Diversity in the broadest sense is what makes this world beautiful and this life worth living. My thanks go to Prologis for letting us all make these experiences! I am very grateful for this.”