SSEN’s Future Networks colleagues get back to nature for a good cause

Group of volunteers working in forest

Nature-loving colleagues from Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) have taken a day away from their desks to help maintain a section of the South Downs National Park.

The six-strong team, who are based in Reading and all work for SSEN’s Future Networks, volunteered their time through the distribution networks operator’s Be the Difference scheme and linked in with the Hampshire Countryside Service to help clear the Ashford Hangers area of the park by cutting back the overgrown scrub, shrubs and trees, which were beginning to impact the woodland tracks used by visitors.

As much of the nature trail is on steep chalk hillsides, veering from the tracks can be dangerous and the team were delighted to be able to help clear the paths to ensure the safety and ease of access for all of those using them and enjoying their woodland walk. 

Led by SSEN’s EV Readiness Manager, Richard Hartshorn, the team used their Be the Difference days that allow them to take a day away from their company roles to help with local good causes, charities and communities. 

He said: “Having seen the impact outdoor spaces and wildlife can make to children and people struggling with mental health, we were really keen to support the Hampshire Countryside Service.

“They maintain areas across the county so that schools, local authorities, parents and carers can provide an exciting range of teaching and learning opportunities, and give adults the chance to momentarily escape their woes and find an opportunity to restore their mental and physical wellbeing. 

“With the environment, communities and mental health being close to our team’s heart, we were determined to ‘Be The Difference’ and give something back to the communities around us, while helping countless others benefit from being able to access this beautiful woodland.” 

The Hampshire Countryside Service looks after the great outdoors, so it can look after you in return. In addition to updating park users and woodland walkers about the work they’re doing, they also share what they’ve learned about taking care of the natural world and how to make the most of it for you and your family’s wellbeing. 

Richard added: “After a day of mud, sweat and tears we were satisfied that our efforts had been successful after the Park Ranger overseeing our efforts congratulated us on a job well done, as did several visitors who were enjoying the park on the day.” 

As part of SSEN’s ‘Be the Difference’ scheme, every SSEN employee is encouraged to take a day away from their usual job and volunteer to help local charities and community projects of their choice. 

Since the launch of the volunteering programme, it has helped over 2,500 projects, with SSEN employees dedicating their time to projects that matter in their local communities.