Derbyshire science company sows seeds of employee wellbeing as new gardening club takes root

Derbyshire science company sows seeds of employee wellbeing as new gardening club takes root

Employees at a Derbyshire science company are getting out of the lab and office to get their hands dirty after starting up an on-site gardening club to boost wellbeing.

Hundreds of employees at Lubrizol’s UK technical centre in Hazelwood near Belper already enjoy coming to work in a beautiful former stately home set in acres of lush Derbyshire countryside.

But now they have the opportunity to get even closer to nature after starting up a gardening club so they can take a break from work to get in amongst the radishes and lavender plants.

The move has been spearheaded by chemist Emma Fahey, who chairs Lubrizol’s UK Sites Sustainability Employee Resource Group – which is part of the company’s corporate sustainability initiative and spans the company’s five sites across the country.

Emma said: “Employee wellbeing is very important to us at Lubrizol. Establishing a raised bed area at Hazelwood is a good way to be able to relax away from our desks in the fresh air for half an hour while we’re at work.

“Initially 20 members have signed up including everyone from finance analysts to engineers to chemists like me. It’s nice to meet new people you don’t normally interact with every day and get involved with something a bit different from our day jobs.”

Getting involved with the garden is a far cry from Emma’s day job, a strategic technology project manager involved in research and development opportunities around technology requirements for the future. Charlotte Hyman, another member of the club, is a finance business analyst for Lubrizol and says she enjoys coming to the garden to enjoy getting involved with watering and general maintenance.

Charlotte said: “It’s great for your mental health to take some time out. It’s a great location on site and I enjoy putting on my gardening gloves and getting involved.”

Being resourceful and thinking sustainably, employees at Lubrizol have thought about how to build the raised garden beds out of resources they already have on site. The beds have been built from wooden pallets that are used to deliver the engine casing to site for use in their mechanical testing department.

Lubrizol’s budding gardeners have initially planted herbs and hardy plants in their raised beds, but have plans to grow vegetables that could one day be destined for employees’ dinner plates as the site develops its sustainability into the future.

Next year, club members are also planning a plant swap to raise money for the company’s current charity: St John Ambulance – for which colleagues Claire and Tim Hollingshurst completed the mighty 55-mile Heritage Way walking challenge in less than 24 hours.

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