Environmentally-Friendly Employees Help Revamp The Leicestershire Riverside

Lawyers Go Green For Team-Building Event


A team of intrepid employees from law firm Irwin Mitchell got their feet wet and their hands dirty to help a Leicestershire community project clean up a polluted riverside.

The eight environmentally-friendly employees from the firm braved torrential rain and thunder storms to collect litter and debris from along the River Soar and Grand Union Canal, which runs through the Watermead Country Park in Leicestershire.

Volunteers Louise Morgan, Anna Manning, Marcelo Masri, Sinead Hayes, Kate Saunders, David Carder, Ruth Moore and Joanne Winfield from the personal injury team took part in the Leicestershire Green Lifeboat Challenge, organised by community initiative Leicestershire Cares and Leicester City Council’s Riverside Rangers.

Team leader Joanne Winfield, an Irwin Mitchell associate who works with seriously injured people, said: “We were hoping for a sunny day gently meandering down the river whilst picking up the odd bit of litter. But the recent stormy weather had washed a massive amount of rubbish onto the riverbanks and it was literally hanging from the trees and bushes.

“Dressed in waterproof clothing, life jackets and prepared with litter grabbers and bin bags, we were given a short lesson on how to row the boat and headed down stream to see what we difference we could make to the cleanliness and appearance of the riverbank.

“Our haul included the standard litter of crisp packets and water bottles but also numerous footballs, broken toys, a tyre, a collection of coconuts and bizarrely a nodding dog, which became our team mascot.

“Despite the torrential rain and smelly, dirty conditions we all had an amazing day and felt a real sense of achievement when we headed back to shore drenched and dishevelled but laden with rubbish that would have been unsightly and dangerous to wildlife if it hadn’t been collected.”

The Leicestershire Riverside includes a 12-mile network of open spaces, nature reserves and parks running throughout the city. The wildlife hot-spot becomes a focal point every June for the Leicester Riverside Festival.

Katharine Lightbown, Community Development Coordinator for Leicestershire Cares, said: “Irwin Mitchell has always been passionate about volunteering in the community and it was great to see them taking part in the Green Lifeboat Challenge for the first time.  It was a challenging task but the group battled through the terrible weather to gather an impressive amount of rubbish, which would have ended up polluting the North Sea if it had been left to rot.”

Irwin Mitchell is committed to being a socially responsible organisation and encourages staff to take part in a variety of volunteering projects with schools, community groups while also offering pro bono support to vulnerable people who need it most. The company also holds an annual National Day of Volunteering and has nominated Help the Hospices as its Charity of the Year 2012. 

In April, Irwin Mitchell was nominated for the Volunteering Team of the Year Award by Leicestershire Cares for its work organising a Christmas party for 15 children with special needs and learning difficulties at the Menphys Nursery at Wigston, Leicester.