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The Phoenix Group have been benefitting from our corporate sponsorship  and corporate social responsibility programmes – almost as much as the forest has!

DSC_9530 1Volunteers play a vital role in helping your forest grow, and corporate sponsorships are a great way of getting the support of local companies – and offering their staff invaluable ‘team-building’ time in the great outdoors.

In December 2013, an exciting new partnership was set up between the Heart of England Forest and Phoenix Group Holdings, one of the UK’s largest life assurance fund consolidators and a member of the FTSE 250 index. Initially, staff sponsored the planting of 1,000 saplings to create a new wood within the forest called The Phoenix Way, close to their Wythall offices.

Lots of willing volunteers spent several days in wellies and raincoats working with our teams to plant the saplings. It was a great experience, lots of hard work, and the wood will be open for everyone to enjoy in the very near future.

DSC_9549 1New woodland planted, Phoenix staff then moved on in November 2014 to Bannam’s Wood, where they protected the hazel with wire fencing to prevent resident deer eating the re-growth. The wood is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, and the volunteers also cleared pathways and helped Head Forester Stephen Coffey with some coppicing.

Then, earlier this year, the teams were back in their Phoenix Way woodland to replace lost trees and start work on the planting of their new woodland – with an additional 500 saplings. The woodland is a long-term and ongoing project, and the relationship between the Phoenix staff and their forest is a really inspiring one.

The Tax department were the latest Phoenix volunteers to enjoy some precious time off in the forest – they joined Stephen for more coppice stool protection in spring. One staff member wrote about their time out on the company blog:

‘The whole team thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to give something back. It was lovely to be out in the fresh air getting lost in your thoughts, stress-free for the morning with plenty of opportunity for socialising and team-building with colleagues.’