Cumbria Crack

Santander staff help build a wheelchair-friendly ropes course at Brathay Trust

90 volunteer staff from Santander came to Brathay’s Ambleside centre to help with the build

Thousands of people from across the North West now have access to a new wheelchair-inclusive low ropes activity course, climbing wall and outdoor classroom, valued up to £40,000, thanks to volunteers from Santander UK.

Around 90 volunteers from Santander UK’s call centre in Bootle made the journey to Ambleside in the Lake District to build the new facilities at Brathay Trust, which supports children, young people and adults to improve their lives and reach their full potential.

Children visiting Brathay wasted no time trying out the new low level climbing wall

As well as creating the much-needed facilities, the Santander UK volunteers improved their team working skills, enabled by the event’s organisers, leadership and team development company Splash Projects.

“Proud is definitely the word I would use,” said Ben O’Donegan, Santander UK’s Contact Centre Head of Insights. “Everyone pulled their weight and it was great to see the collaboration between colleagues. I am very proud of them all.”

The Santander UK team completed the build in just one day in sweltering temperatures.

“They hit the ground really well,” said Colin Robertson, Senior Programme Manager at Splash Projects. “Everyone came with a real commitment to deliver, so even though they were a bit daunted by the size of the build they did really well and enjoyed it.”

The new all-inclusive ropes course has been designed with wheelchair users in mind

Godfrey Owen, the Chief Executive of Brathay Trust, said the new facilities will change lives and help people to recognise and unlock their own potential.

“It is important to stress how often this will be used – it’s not just a ‘nice to have,’” he said. “We work with 7,000 young people each year and most of those will use these new activities. What they’ve built today will help the people we work with to really understand what it’s like to achieve things and our facilitators can then help them to transfer what they’ve learnt back to their everyday lives.”

Some of the people Brathay helps are from Bootle, which is home to one of the Santander UK’s call centres, whose staff took part.

“Brathay has already given something to our community and we are giving something back to them,” said Ben.

Santander UK’s Discovery Days scheme encourages staff to take a day out of the office to volunteer for a local cause. In 2018, more than 6,000 volunteers took part in 651 projects across the UK, including refurbishing local schools, hospitals and helping with community projects.

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