Leonardo (UK) volunteers roll their sleeves up

Published: November 13, 2018

Chopping wood and brandishing power drills – all in a day’s work for members of the Commercial team at Leonardo.

Leonardo is a global high-tech company and one of the key players in Aerospace, Defence and Security. The company employs around 7,000 highly skilled people with sites across the UK. Perhaps it should have been a surprise to find some of the company’s Edinburgh employees putting their many skills to work hanging bird feeders and creating bee hotels, but that’s exactly what they were doing one Thursday in November.

Robin Thomson (Vice-President, Commercial Leonardo, UK) had encountered Harmeny earlier in 2018 when he joined a team of Leonardo walkers to raise a fabulous £3,000 for our Learning for Life Appeal. Inspired by meeting some of our children in the grounds, he gathered a group of colleagues to spend a day away from the office, volunteering out of doors in our 35-acre estate.

Tree trunks were sawn through and chopped up to sell as fire wood at Balerno Farmers’ Market. Meanwhile, other members of the team were busy building Mini Nature Reserves.

Designed by one of our former pupils who loved Harmeny’s woodland and grounds, the reserves are large, multi-faceted boxes providing carefully created homes for bugs, spiders, bees, birds, hedgehogs, and any other creature that cares to pitch up.

“This is great – the most fun I’ve had in ages,” said Jen, hammer and nails in hand. Smiling away like she was born to this kind of work, it was hard to imagine her ever sitting behind a desk. Beside her, Pauline was asking what sizes bees come in – she was drilling holes into a tree segment for them, delighted to get her hands on the kind of power tool her husband and sons monopolise at home.

There will be one Mini Nature Reserve for each of the cottages where the children live, allowing them to see how wildlife comes and goes, survives, and benefits the environment.

For each volunteer it was clearly an energising and rewarding experience and one which the hope will set a pattern for other teams from Leonardo in the future.