Community-spirited workers swapped the office for the outdoors to give a trio of South Tyneside parks a summer spruce up.
More than 400 staff from software giant Sage left behind their desks to get their hands dirty in a big clean-up operation at Monkton Dene Park, Springwell Park and Valley View Park, all in Jarrow.
The green-fingered throngs of volunteers joined forces with environmental charity Groundwork to give the beauty spots some tender loving care as part of an ambitious European union.
Sage affords its workers up to five days of volunteering each year through its Sage Foundation, with 1,000 staff from all corners of the continent taking part in a Europe-wide volunteer day.
Sage’s President of Europe, Brendan Flattery, took a business break to lead the way at the park clean-up in the borough, which saw eco-friendly workers painting, pruning, digging and cleaning ditches, as well as litter picking, lopping trees, cleaning streams and painting street furniture.
Mr Flattery said: “Our links with the community and local charities are very important to us so our European Volunteer day is a fantastic stepping stone to enable us to get out there again and add even more value to them.
Our links with the community and local charities are very important to us.Brendan Flattery
“Many of our colleagues already volunteer through our Sage Foundation and the feedback received tells us that it really helps them support and learn more about their local community while helping to build their skills and confidence.
Rebecca Maw, communities manager from Groundwork, added: “Without Sage’s support this important work would not happen. Based on the average cost of labour the equivalent amount of work would cost approximately £25,000 so we are hugely grateful for their assistance.
“Parks across the country are receiving reduced investment and maintenance as council budgets are squeezed. So, volunteer days such as this one are going to become more and more important to ensure our parks and green spaces remain in good condition for the benefit of the community who use them. Parks and green spaces are essential for people’s health and wellbeing and also provide a haven for wildlife.
“The team of more than 400 from Sage today have done an amazing job in helping us keep these local community areas vibrant.”
To find out more about Sage Foundation, visit www.sage.com/company/sage_foundation