In the Summer of 2017 my team volunteered to help a brilliant charity called Meanwood Valley Urban Farm in Leeds.
We turned up with our wellies and gardening gloves and our job for the day was to remove weeds from the flowerbeds, mow the lawns and generally make the public spaces as nice as possible. At least, that was the job we had signed up to do.
It was around lunchtime when rumours started circling of a ‘special task’.
The group had been working all morning on the grounds maintenance jobs. We had all found a role that we enjoyed, and by this point had perfected in our own way. We were looking forward to a leisurely afternoon in the sun.
However, whilst we were eating lunch the farmer walked in and asked us to forget about the grounds maintenance work. He needed farmhands to help inoculate five lambs.
Five lambs. Eleven people. How hard could that be?
We later realised that the five lambs were in a five acre field with over a hundred of their friends. Our job was (now) to find five lambs that did not have a blue spot painted on their backs then herd them into a pen about the size of a shed so the farmer could give them their jabs.
What followed was simultaneously one of the funniest and most frustrating hours of my life. I watched as people who I know to be very skilled, clever and optimistic were reduced to a rabble of blithering idiots chasing baby sheep round a field. People were falling out, some were on their knees and a few had to drop out through sheer exhaustion.
At one point I was convinced this was all a massive wind up and questioned the very existence of the five lambs. But after sixty minutes the people who remained found the lambs and managed to get the job done.
The relief almost brought me to tears. High fives were flying around, people were punching the air, hugging each other or waving to the crowd of (four) people that had formed like they had just won the FA Cup.
We left the farm with a palpable feeling of pride. The people at the charity were very happy and all in all it felt like a very worthwhile day.
On the drive home I was still giggling to myself about some of the things I had seen my team do. But another thought struck me too: How could we help charities like Meanwood Valley Urban Farm using the things we are actually good at, the skills we use every day at work?
Yellow Team is a response to that question.
It is about assembling teams of brilliant volunteers with valuable professional skills to solve problems and generally help charities raise awareness/cash for the great causes they support.
If you are charity or non-profit, or someone who wants to help one, we would love to hear from you. Please get in touch.