Volunteers Swap Office for Outdoors in Charity Teambuilding

Volunteers Swap Office for Outdoors in Charity Teambuilding

07 October 2015

Staff members from Northumbrian Water have swapped a day in the office for a day outdoors as they took time out to volunteer on Durham Cathedral’s Woodlands and Riverbanks.

The seven members of staff, from Northumbrian Water’s Supply Chain Management team spent the day clearing bramble and ivy from an area that the Cathedral uses as an outdoor education spot for visiting school groups.

Outdoor Learning Officer Pam Stewart said: “Our outdoor learning area is a lovely space with felled logs for the children to sit on in a circle and we take them there to teach them about various things like plants, animals and habitats. We also deliver environmental art, history and geography on the riverbanks.

“The area was a little overgrown and so we are very grateful that volunteers from Northumbrian Water helped us clear the undergrowth, making it a safer and more enjoyable place for us to take the children. We will also be levelling out a path to make the area more accessible.”

The day’s activities were organised as part of Northumbrian Water’s corporate partnership with Durham Cathedral.

Durham Cathedral’s Corporate Development Officer, Clare Chillingworth, said: “We are very grateful to Northumbrian Water for its corporate partnership and for sparing staff for the day to come and help us improve the outdoor learning area on our Woodlands and Riverbanks. Employee Volunteering is one of the mutually beneficial aspects of our corporate partnerships and it is lovely to see Northumbrian Water choosing to take advantage of this by having a team building day for its staff.”

Stephen Whaley, Northumbrian Water’s Contracts Procurement Manager, said: “Helping the Cathedral to clear this area on the riverbanks, which is such a great facility to help children learn about Durham Cathedral’s important history and heritage, was a pleasure. Northumbrian Water cares about the communities it serves and volunteering is one way in which the company demonstrates this. It was also a good opportunity for our team to spend time together out of the office.”

Northumbrian Water’s volunteering scheme, ‘Just an hour’, allows employees to volunteer at least 15 hours of paid, work time a year, to help with a wide range of community work.

For more information about how your business could become a corporate partner of Durham Cathedral or get involved with employee volunteering, contact Development Office Clare Chillingworth on 0191 3744581 or email Clare.Chillingworth@durhamcathedral.co.uk.

Media Contacts at the Cathedral:
PR and Media Officer, Rebecca Turner (Mon and Tue only) 0191 3744585
Head of Marketing and Events, Ruth Robson on 0191 3744054
Marketing Officer, Catherine Hodgson on 0191 3744067

Durham Cathedral is a Christian Church of the Anglican Communion, the shrine of St Cuthbert, the seat of the Bishop of Durham and a focus of pilgrimage and spirituality in North East England. It inhabits a treasured sacred space set in the natural and human landscape of the World Heritage Site.

Its purpose is to worship God, share the gospel of Jesus Christ, welcome all who come, celebrate and pass on its rich Christian heritage and discover its place in God’s creation.

The building of Durham Cathedral commenced in 1093 and took around 40 years to complete. It replaced a Saxon cathedral built by the Community of St Cuthbert after it arrived in Durham in 995 following its flight from the ‘Holy Island’ of Lindisfarne 80 miles north of Durham. The body of St Cuthbert is enshrined in the Feretory at Durham Cathedral and the Tomb of the Venerable Bede is in The Galilee Chapel. The Cathedral existed as a Benedictine Monastery until 1539 when it became one of the Church of England’s major Cathedrals.

It continues to be a focus for pilgrimage and attracts over 600,000 visitors each year from all over the world. The Cathedral has internationally important collections of artefacts, manuscripts and books that include St Cuthbert’s coffin and his pectoral cross; superb examples of Anglo-Saxon craftsmanship. Durham Cathedral is often referred to as the best example of Romanesque architecture in Europe, or as American writer Bill Bryson put it, ‘the best Cathedral on planet earth.’

Since its construction Durham Cathedral has been alive with people and a centre for community activity. The Cathedral is home to a vibrant worshipping community and continues to celebrate the English Choral Tradition with sung services by its highly acclaimed Choir. As a new century unfolds Durham Cathedral aspires to enrich the many different ways in which it engages with people and organisations. It is cherished equally by those who live, work and study in the region and by those who come to visit.

Open Treasure: Durham Cathedral is undertaking a project called Open Treasure – a major development which will transform the way the Cathedral buildings are experienced, understood and used to the glory of God, both as working buildings and to the benefit of those who visit.

The first phase of Open Treasure was completed in autumn 2012. New Choir Vestries are now in use and a new Cathedral Shop with a fully accessible Foyer was opened by Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson in November of that year. The Treasures of St Cuthbert exhibition is not on display at present but as part of the next phase of Open Treasure, a new exhibition that includes these wonderful Anglo-Saxon artefacts will be created in the Monastic Great Kitchen. This will be the culmination of a journey through some of the Cathedral’s claustral buildings and a sequence of exhibition spaces, showcasing the Cathedral’s collections of paintings, carved stones, textiles, metalwork and manuscripts in a way that tells the story of Christianity in the North of England, monastic life in Durham and the life of the Cathedral today.

Durham Cathedral’s Open Treasure project has been awarded £3.9 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The public appeal will help the Cathedral to complete the funding needed for the project.

Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) aims to make a lasting difference for heritage, people and communities across the UK and help build a resilient heritage economy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage. HLF has supported over 35,000 projects with more than £5.5bn across the UK. www.hlf.org.uk.

For a full list of donors and supporters of the Open Treasure appeal, please visit our website: www.durhamcathedral.co.uk.

If you would like to donate to Open Treasure you can donate online anytime at www.localgiving.com/durhamcathedral or www.justgiving.com/durhamcathedral. If you would like more information about the project and ways you can help, please send an email to development@durhamcathedral.co.uk or telephone 0191 374 4079. Thank you.

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