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QEII Centre volunteers get hands on to transform forest school

A team of volunteers from Westminster venue the QEII Centre have been helping to improve London’s green open spaces in partnership with charity Hands on London.

Six volunteers spent a day at Wormwood Scrubs, clearing pathways and dead hedging to create a nature trail for a forest school, and building a bug hotel for stag beetles to breed.

Marketing manager James Bogle, senior account manager Chris Gaylard, HR Director Raj Pragji, marketing assistant Joshua Lloyd-Hall, ICT project manager Julia Snell and event manager Martina Kopecka volunteered their time as part of QEII’s summer school; an initiative to encourage staff to learn new skills and try different activities during the centre’s August closure.

The bug hotel volunteers were responsible for digging a wide and deep hole to put in old rotting logs for Stag Beetles. The dead wood encourages female Stag Beetles, whose habitat is currently in decline, to bury deep into the ground and lay their larvae in the rotten logs which then remain there for seven years until they hatch.

The dead hedging team first had to cut down and remove any tree stumps or branches which were making the area unsafe or were in the pathway, then used a post driver to drive large posts into the ground in a zig zag pattern along the borders and collected dead tree branches to weave in between the posts. The dead hedges use dead material found in the forest to create a natural barrier over conservation areas and to encourage insects to create a habitat within it.

Marketing manager James Bogle said: “It was great to get outdoors and get stuck into the volunteering – it was hard work but very rewarding. It’s important to protect London’s green spaces and help nature to thrive, as well as creating places where local communities can connect with nature, and we were really pleased to have the chance to support this great initiative.”

QEII has previously partnered with the charity Hands on London to support its winter coat collection campaign, Wrap Up London, and decided to take part in the summer volunteering programme as part of its CSR drive to give back to the local London community.

Erika Bewers, Hands on London team leader said: “It was incredible to see how much could be done in one day, the area looked completely different. Spotless too! They were a lovely team to work with and I hope everyone had a great day!”

The QEII Centre hosts events for up to 2,500 delegates across 32 flexible event spaces, including conferences, exhibitions, awards ceremonies, fashion shows, product launches and banquets. For more information about the QEII Centre visit www.qeiicentre.london.

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