In November, seventeen of our staff took part in an action day with the Water of Leith Conservation Trust – the first river charity to be established in Scotland. We worked in partnership with the Trust to revitalise a Leith section of the twelve miles of river that passes through Edinburgh.
The mission of the Trust is “to conserve and enhance the Water of Leith as a haven for wildlife and an educational and recreational resource for all”. The Water of Leith is home to hundreds of species of plant, including the protected Scottish Hyacinth, and creatures from fish to birds, such as kingfishers and herons, and even otters. Since moving to our new office in Leith last year, we are keen to become more involved here in the local community. Improving the local environment for the wildlife and people in our area is something that appeals to us.
In the morning, one half of the team spent their time clearing litter and leaves from the path and steps near the canal front at Coalie Park. A local resident walking past commented that he felt much safer now that the leaves had been removed and the path was clear.
The second group worked on the opposite bank of the canal clearing a bonfire site and litter from the plants and water. The treasures fished out included a shopping trolley, a lawnmower and a mattress. Our team made light work of the task and the improvement made to the river was evident. A large amount of litter and abandoned household items were removed from the area to various collection points and picked up the next day by Edinburgh Council.
A neighbouring café, Ostara, noticed our hard work and very kindly offered us free coffee for the day to keep us warm and energised.
In the afternoon we worked together to continue clearing a further stretch of the canal and pathway. Several of our team donned waders and ventured into the water to tackle a large tree that had fallen in and was blocking the river. Despite one of us taking a dunk, the obstruction was completely removed and the river flowed freely again. Those who weren’t brave enough to get in the water continued to clear the nearby path of leaves and litter, and cut back the overhanging undergrowth.
After a full and hard day’s work, the impact we had made on the canal front and the water itself was significant. Despite the rain, the aches the next day and one of us almost ending up in the Forth, we all agreed that it was an amazingly rewarding experience. We made a dramatic improvement to our local community and grew closer as a company in the process.
Commenting on our efforts, the Trust said – “Despite the weather, your team worked incredibly hard all day and achieved a massive amount. Since Sunday, a number of people have commented to me that your work has not gone unnoticed and that the area has massively been improved by your team’s efforts. Not only has this come from members of the community but also volunteer patrollers have seen issues unresolved in their previous reports addressed. Especially that tree in the river!”
We would like to carry on our hard work by taking part in more days with the Water of Leith Conservation Trust, as well as looking at other ways that we can help our local area.