Paying it forward – IMA’s Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives

In April 2017, the HQ team in Sydney took on their first Corporate Social Responsibility challenge. With so many worthwhile volunteer projects to dedicate our time to, the toughest task was actually deciding on which one. But as ANZAC Day was around the corner, the team decided on Legacy and . . . sprigging rosemary!

What’s the significance of rosemary on Anzac Day and what’s ‘sprigging’?

Rosemary is symbolic of Anzac Day because when the Anzac troops landed at Gallipoli, rosemary was growing wild all over the peninsula and since ancient times, this aromatic herb has been believed to have properties to improve the memory. It has become a symbol of fidelity and remembrance. Lest We Forget.

For several days in the lead up to Anzac Day each year, volunteers of all ages (including wives of veterans and war widows) gather around long tables at Legacy to prepare the rosemary. Rosemary ‘sprigging’ involves cutting the rosemary branch to the required length (10cm), attaching the Legacy sticker to the base of the branch and then stacking the rosemary sprigs into the legacy box that volunteers use to hand out to the public.  Sprigging is a very precise activity. The little branch can’t be too woody, too long or too short. The Legacy sticker needs to be well attached to the leaves so that if it rains, the sticker stays attached to the rosemary. Every year in Sydney, volunteers hand out close to 80,000 sprigs of rosemary and they are pinned to the lapel or collars of veterans and members of the public.

Our IMA volunteers were all new to sprigging rosemary and had no idea what to expect. When we arrived at 8:00am, all the tables were set up with instructions, rosemary piles, stickers and scissors so we plonked ourselves down and got straight into it. Archana settled straight into trimming and quality control – pointing out to some lackadaisical newcomers that all sprigs MUST BE 10cm or the sprigs won’t work properly! They got the message pretty quickly and began producing much better quality work.

Rob excelled in finding the prettiest rosemary branches and made sure Team IMA had an ongoing supply of premium rosemary sprigs! By the end of our morning shift, we had produced about 12 trays (approx. 1200 sprigs we think). Legacy put on a great spread for morning tea too which kept everyone energised and focused on the job at hand.
We all agreed that the act of rosemary sprigging is actually very calming and therapeutic and it was fun getting involved in something really different. But the real highlight was paying it forward and contributing to the remembrance of Anzac Day. Looking forward to the next CSR activity planned for the next quarter of 2017!