Ex-Service men and women from our Shoulder to Shoulder project had a great day volunteering

The Shoulder to Shoulder (S2S) project spent a day at Birmingham project, Ackers Adventure, a vast 70 acre site in the heart of the city.

Veterans who have been regularly attending the S2S Drop-in signed up for a day of volunteering, after a successful volunteering day in the grounds of the National Memorial Arboretum earlier in the year.

The Ackers is a busy outdoor activity centre and natural space open to the public. It has a military past however, having previously been the home of the Birmingham Small Arms Company which made munitions for both the First and Second World Wars.

214 The centre relies on groups of volunteers to maintain the natural space so Dave, the activity manager at The Ackers, soon got us to work digging a trench to improve water flow into the pond within the conservation area.The expert team workers made swift work of the task, which has made a big impact on the natural environment, creating an island for breeding wildlife. 

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It was my second visit to The Ackers, having first visited with a staff team from employee benefits company Edenred on Global Impact Day, when companies invest time in their local communities.

Veterans volunteering days have developed through our busy monthly Drop-in where veterans and their families are able to find out about services available to them through talks and information. Volunteering is one of the options we offer through the Drop-in by organising days like these, getting the local Volunteer Centre (BVSC) along to the Drop-in, as well as other agencies, so they know what opportunities are out there that could offer a step up.

One regular attendee found out about the Thrive Gardening project after he met the Coordinator at our Drop-in. He’s now working towards a City & Guilds Qualification in Horticulture and begins a Woodland Management course in the autumn. He also worked on Birmingham City Council's gold medal winning garden at the Chelsea Flower Show and spent the week at the show. Calling in to the Drop-in has opened doors to other opportunities and who knows what’s next?

After a morning of hard graft on a hot August day the group took advantage of the outdoor activities on offer at the centre, with a light-hearted archery competition (not sure who won in the end!) followed by a paddle on the canal.

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For more information about the Shoulder to Shoulder project and our monthly Drop-in, take a look here or contact Jane, the Project Coordinator janed@timebank.org.uk