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Gruffalo party trail built by volunteers from believe housing

Housing association staff ventured into the deep, dark wood to help update a popular Gruffalo trail in time for the much-loved character’s 25th birthday.

Colleagues from believe housing turned the 1.5mile wheelchair and pushchair friendly route, in Hamsterley Forest, County Durham, into a Gruffalo party trail.

From this weekend (17 February 2024) visitors can search for missing party items and enjoy fun and games along the trail, after believe housing colleagues installed new features and signposts and improved the path and drainage.

To take part, they used one of the four volunteer days that all 640 colleagues at believe housing can take each year to help good causes and community projects.

Rachel Edmunds, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at believe housing, said: “It was great to see 19 colleagues use one of their volunteer days to help update the Gruffalo trail, so people can continue using it to get active and feel inspired.

“Giving back to the region, and supporting our customers and communities, is important to believe housing as we are passionate about providing home and places where people can thrive.

“The volunteering day was also a good way to bring together colleagues from across the business who don’t usually work together. And working outdoors is great for our physical and mental wellbeing - many of us discovered muscles we never knew we had.”

Jamie Dempsey, Recreation Ranger at Hamsterley Forest, said just as The Gruffalo book, written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler, has become an iconic piece of children’s literature since it was published in 1999, the characters have become a key attraction at the forest.

He said: “The Gruffalo is a significant part of our visitor experience, capturing the hearts and minds of thousands of children, fostering their sense of adventure, connection to nature and family exploration.

“It is therefore very important that new trail installations are completed to a strict specification, which is always a significant task for our small site team.

“Employees of believe housing proved to be a fantastic asset, incredibly enthusiastic and able to draw on experience from so many different sectors and trades, to deliver a fantastic install in one day.

“This has ensured The Gruffalo Party Trail will launch on time, for February half term. Thank you to all involved.”


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