We recently completed our first Mercia Community Day, where we look to help our local communities. This project was for our Leicester office to undertake, at Danemill Primary School, who required help in clearing an outdoor area for their children to play in.
The school had an outdoor area which was created more than 12 years ago, but sadly it was inaccessible for the children due to the how much the garden had become overgrown with blackberry bushes and thorns, while also having rotten wood nearby.
Our team of 17 enthusiastic volunteers turned up bright and early, eager to tackle what was thrown at them. The sun was shining, the weather was warm and spirits were high. Organised and armed with numerous spades, forks, wheelbarrows and power tools – the work began. It is fair to say great team work and bonding helped everyone ignore the searing heat and growing pools of sweat that nobody was escaping. That was further aided by the numerous drinks and snacks, some healthy but the majority sugar based and much needed.
To help with the community feel, our troops were very kindly fed their lunch by a local businesses, The Dovecote, Pizza Plaza and K E Carter & Son who donated an array refreshments to provide energy to complete the tasks.
By the end of the day we had completed a huge amount of work for the school, including:
- Removing plants, bushes and general overgrowth from 10 large raised beds (made from sleepers)
- Removed all soil within the beds and re-distributed across the school
- Damaged trees removed
- All sleepers (over 40!) removed and thrown in the skip
- Plastic bottle wall dismantled
- Overall clean-up of garden area for children to play in
- Painting the school ‘Trim Trail’ which included numerous outdoor play equipment.
Overall we filled two skips full of waste and rotten material, help redistribute endless wheelbarrows full of soil and painted throughout the day.
It was hot, included lots of manual labour, dirt, sweat and laughs but the end result was something we are really proud of and delighted that it will help the school and children in the years to come. This will be particularly beneficial to the 85 pupils who will now be able to access this specific area and enjoy their new outside space.
Our volunteers were from across various departments in the business, but it is fair to say that manual labour is more physically demanding than sitting behind a desk all day – something a few are still recovering from!
You may have also noted that we said there were blackberry bushes that needed clearing…that didn’t mean that all the blackberries were lost. We picked as many as we could and one of the team brought in a blackberry crumble the following day, which was appreciated and demolished by our volunteers.
Due to the success, fun and achievements from this project, we are already looking forward to the next challenge that will help out local communities.