Southeastern helps protect local wildlife

We have joined forces with B&Q Sidcup in an effort to protect the animals of Elmstead Woods this winter.

The zone 4 station, near Bromley, has an award-winning garden that houses ponds, an insect hotel and some lesser-spotted wildlife.

The garden is home to a range of animals including foxes, squirrels, rabbits, fish and newts. And with winter only a matter of weeks away, the Elmstead Woods team has linked up with B&Q Sidcup to ask for help to make the station more welcoming for their wildlife lodgers during the colder months.
Now the local DIY and home improvement firm has donated a number of creature comforts to the station including bird baths, tables and squirrel-proof feeders. It has also provided food containers for other animals, mesh wiring to cover the ponds, plant pots, compost and spades to help keep the garden groomed for Christmas.

Sean Hipkin, Duty Manager for B&Q Sidcup, said: “Many of us at the store live locally and wanted to get involved. I hope we’ve made some home improvements that will help local wildlife thrive.”
The garden was created 20 years ago by station employees and local volunteers and spruced-up in 2005 for Elmstead Woods’ 100th anniversary. In recent years, it has blossomed into the perfect animal habitat.

Elmstead Wood’s station garden is tended by Southeastern staff in their own time. On a daily basis, the team feed the fish and newts in the station pond, replenish bird feeders and provide food for squirrels and smaller animals.
Ticket office employee Stephen Leggett, who has been at Elmstead Woods for a decade, is credited with much of the transformation, along with a host of volunteers.

Forty-six-year-old Stephen, from Orpington, continues to care for the habitat in his own time. And green-fingered colleagues Allan Williams and Paul Ames also play a part. Last year the trio helped rescue a stricken fox cub whose den was behind platform four.

Passengers going down to Elmstead Woods today can also catch a glimpse of herons, owls, parakeets, toads, and frogs. Many donate their own plants and pots throughout the year.

Roy Vinnacombe, Duty Station Manager at Elmstead Woods, added: “It’s not just the animals that love our station. Stephen, our employees and the volunteers have over the years created a welcoming environment for passengers too. We’re very proud of the hard work that goes into maintaining the garden, as we are committed to providing a pleasant environment for passengers and to being part of our local community. We’re very grateful to B&Q for its support.”

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Our employees are at the heart of our business. We employ nearly 4,000 people – mostly from the communities that we serve. Their collective efforts make sure that over 570,000 passengers get to their destination safely each day.

(Article first published 18/11/2015)

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