Staff at QVC in Kirkby are setting up their own allotment at work to grow their own fruit, vegetables and flowers as part of a national ‘Pay it Forward’ campaign.
The idea came from employees themselves and has been set up outside QVC’s headquarters on Knowsley Business Park with support from Knowsley Council’s Working Well team and the company’s own Health and Wellbeing programme.
The allotment will be run by employees, who will be able to enjoy the physical and mental benefits associated with gardening. QVC has also pledged to donate 20 per cent of the fruit and vegetables produced to Knowsley Food Bank, with any profits from flower sales going to QVC’s 2016 local corporate charities: Lyndale Cancer Support Centre, Meningitis Now and The Isabella Trust.
The project was launched on Pay it Forward Day (28 April), when people around the country were encouraged to carried out acts of kindness. After hearing about the benefits of the employee allotment, Pay it Forward offered their support to make it happen with £1,000 of match funding.
Health benefits for staff
The health benefits of gardening are well documented with studies showing that 30 minutes working on an allotment can help alleviate symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression, while supporting positive mental wellbeing.
Tending the garden can also provide a great workout, elevating the heart rate, while building strength and flexibility.
The idea to create an allotment was suggested by QVC employee, Ian Douglas, a keen gardener and allotment owner. The plan has been met with enthusiasm by his colleagues, with 24 already signed up to work on the gardens in their own time.
QVC has also received support from QVC Knowsley’s catering provider, Sodexo, and the Bistro staff canteen donating coffee grinds for composting and seeds, whilst local contractor, Keith Jones from Keith Jones Building Services, has donated a shed to keep tools and equipment. The team is also looking for ways to use recycled materials form QVC’s own operations, for example using old pallets as bedding planters.
Kelly Morgan, Director of HR at QVC UK, said:
“QVC is always looking for ways to support the health and wellbeing of employees, as well the local community. Our new allotment allows us to do both at the same time!
“Gardening is proven to bring fantastic benefits to both physical and mental wellbeing, while also giving you fresh fruit and veg to show for your efforts. Meanwhile, the Pay it Forward movement is the ideal way for us to share our produce with those less fortunate. We can’t wait to see what our first harvest brings.”
Matthew Ashton, Knowsley Council’s Assistant Executive Director for Public Health & Wellbeing said:
“We have been working with QVC for a number of years on our Working Well programme, which promotes and encourages the health and wellbeing of staff in businesses across Knowsley.
“We have been delighted to support QVC in their latest health and wellbeing venture, which will not only benefit their staff, but also the wider community who will benefit from home-grown produce.”
You can try Working Well too
If your company would be interested in help and support to deliver initiatives which encourage health and wellbeing in the workplace, contact Knowsley Council’s Working Well team on 0151 443 4723 or email firstname.lastname@example.org