Supporting community green initiatives

Owen Mumford takes its local environmental responsibilities seriously and has recently extended its involvement across several ecological projects. These have included sponsoring 10 fruit trees in the Sustainable Woodstock Community Orchard where there are currently, 82 heritage fruit trees including, apple, cherry, pear, Perry pear, damsons, plums and Medlar.

These are managed organically both for the enjoyment and consumption by the community and to benefit wildlife. The orchard is an extension of the Community Woodland Project which has been running for nine years and 73% of the fruit trees are now sponsored, which is a great achievement.

The orchard and wildlife haven came out of a desire by Sustainable Woodstock to do something useful with a narrow field at the end of the community woodland. They approached Blenheim to see if they would be open to the idea of creating a community orchard – and they agreed.

The orchard is viewed as an important part of Woodstock’s plan for a sustainable future and fruit trees in particular are vital for local ecology; filtering air, conditioning soil, providing shade and shelter to wildlife as well as attracting pollinators to local gardens. The project has been awarded a couple of grants and is planning a second phase of tree planting to promote more pollinators and increase birdlife in the future. The organisers welcome volunteers, many of whom have been actively involved in planting trees, checking for pests and looking after the orchard but more are always needed – for both the woodland and orchard project.

Further ecological projects involved Owen Mumford entering into a corporate membership arrangement with the Wychwood Project. One of the services rendered by the membership is the undertaking of a Biodiversity Audit at each of our Oxfordshire sites. This audit was duly conducted at the Chipping Norton site by James Aylward. Several recommendations on how we could increase biodiversity and improve the way our site blends into the local natural environment were made.
After a search of local nurseries, a supplier of a native hedging mix comprising 60% hawthorn, 10% blackthorn, and 5% each of field maple, hazel, dogwood, spindle, crab apple and wayfaring tree was sourced. At the request of the Town Council the blackthorn element of the mix was replaced with holly (for evergreen and winter berry interest), and additional field maple. A total of 300 saplings were purchased. Over the next three weeks a team of Owen Mumford volunteers spent their lunchbreaks removing the old wire fence and posts, digging out perennial weeds, and planting the saplings in a double staggered row of five plants per metre. This is part of Owen Mumford’s ongoing commitment to its local environmental impact and how best to support its local community.

Owen Mumford also launched a Green Travel Survey with a view to better understand the travel and transport patterns of associates for their commute to and from work.

The company recognises that the method of travel associates employ, their work location for the day and times that they leave home to secure a parking space play a significant part in the daily decisions they make. These factors also play a big part in associate morale and ultimately satisfaction in working for Owen Mumford.

The intention of the travel survey was to enable Owen Mumford to better understand the current effect of associates travelling to and from work to further minimise the company’s impact on the local environment. This would provide the information necessary for any potential interventions which the company might seek to implement. To this end the survey would equip us with the necessary information and evidence to support such intervention(s).

In demonstrating its commitment to the exercise Owen Mumford pledged to donate £2.00 for every survey completed to the Oxford based charity ‘SeeSaw’, which provides support to children and young people experiencing grief. We are very pleased to say that a total of 259 associates completed the survey resulting in a donation being made to ‘SeeSaw’ for the sum of £518.

The key findings from the travel survey are that real interest was shown in the idea of Electric Vehicles (EVs). To this end Owen Mumford has installed vehicle charging points on both of its UK sites. Another key finding is the interest shown in cycling to work and the need to support those who do so, or would like to, with the provision of shower facilities which have now been installed.

These environmental initiates are just some of the ways Owen Mumford continuously monitors and seeks ways to improve its daily operations to benefit the environment.

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