“As well as delivering a first-class service, we want to leave a legacy. Providing further benefits to our clients, their environment and wider community is important to us. Through our Waterman Aspen in the Community initiative, we offer everyone one day each year to carry out voluntary or charitable work, often linked to the interests of their secondment client.”
Mark Emberton, Managing Director, Waterman Aspen
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has come to mean whatever a company does to give back to the community – and we take that responsibility seriously.
With a team of hundreds of engineers, designers and project managers, armed with a huge range of technical skills, we know we can really make a positive difference to our communities.
That’s what the Waterman Aspen in the Community initiative is all about – all of our salaried colleagues are given a day per year to get involved with a project which is important to them, their client or community.
In recent years, our people have helped restore woodlands, rivers and canals… refurbish community buildings and help at homeless shelters… as well as using their specialist skills, such as designing signs for a charity event.
Enthusiastic Waterman Aspen colleagues play an integral part in thriving projects all over the UK, creating a better environment and giving back to their communities.
What have we been doing?
Volunteering at Friockheim Community Garden and Park
One of our Scotland Area Managers, Kevin, used his Waterman Aspen in the Community day to volunteer at Friockheim Community Park in Angus.
The Friockheim Community Park is run and managed by a team of volunteers led by the inspiring James Anderson, who is only 18, and manages the public toilets, park and children’s play area for all to use.
Kevin spent the day litter-picking and cleaning the children’s play park, which was completely cleared and de-cluttered by the end of the day.
Kevin also used his engineering expertise to take measurements and sizes which he will use to produce a technical drawing for a barbecue area which they hope to renovate.
Volunteering at local football club
Bury FC has recently gone through a fan-lead buy-out and many members of the community came together to help clean-up the stadium ahead of their first game in the stadium in three years.
One of the volunteers was our Associate Director for Marketing & Communications, Hayley Sharp, who spent an afternoon cleaning up the football ground.
She commented: “Just being in the stadium again was an absolute privilege, and seeing everyone who cares about the club doing their part too took away the pain in my back after four hours of cleaning seats!”
St Michael’s School Community Allotment Area
Members of our West Midlands team helped transform an area of a school playground into a community allotment – designed to engage pupils and the local community with skills in gardening and horticulture to create a sense of care, compassion and connection.
St Michael’s School serves pupils experiencing some of the most serious forms of disadvantage, including pupils in the care system, with refugee status, and some from families fleeing violence.
Be My Eyes
One of our clients, Manchester City Council, shared with us some ways in which we could volunteer within the community. We signed up to a few volunteer sites and Divisional Director Linda McGregor chose ‘Be My Eyes’.
The charity makes it so easy for support to be offered, using a simple phone app. As a sighted volunteer you help just by installing the Be My Eyes app and responding when the alert comes from blind or low-vision person requesting assistance from sighted volunteers.
Jade Tonge from Manchester City Council said: “MCC encourages all of their suppliers to give back to the local community through various social value opportunities. We are delighted that WA has found a charity that goes the extra mile for those that really need it. A wonderful initiative that any supplier can get involved in.”
Volunteering for Friends of Ladybrook Valley
Waterman Aspen colleagues seconded to Stockport Council used their Waterman Aspen in the Community day to support the Friends of Ladybrook Valley in Bramhall, Stockport.
Ladybrook Valley (also known as Happy Valley) is a very popular nature reserve for the local community, parts of which are also a site of biological importance. The site covers a huge 17 hectares and is home to the Ladybrook River. There is also a mixture of habitats including the ancient woodland of Great Reddish Woods.
Throughout the day, the team helped with all sorts of tasks including constructing a hibernaculum for amphibians, cutting back brambles and digging shallow drainage channels to allow water to flow off footpaths.
World Heritage Site Painting
Our people joined a group of 40 volunteers at Ironbridge in Telford to scrub down and paint over 400m of railings at the UNESCO World Heritage site along the River Severn’s Wharfage.
In 1986, the Ironbridge Gorge was one of the first locations to be designated as a World Heritage Site within the UK. This designation recognised the area’s unique and unrivalled contribution to the birth of the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century.
Local councillors came along to join in with the amazing local spirit as well as photographers and journalists from the local newspapers including the Shropshire Star who published this report shortly afterwards – https://www.shropshirestar.com/news/local-hubs/telford/ironbridge/2020/02/10/volunteers-give-lick-of-paint-to-historic-ironbridge-railings/
Canal and River Trust Plastics Challenge
Our West Midlands team took part in the Plastics Challenge, a clean-up initiative implemented by the Canal and River Trust to help make canals and rivers a beautiful place that everyone can enjoy.
Sadly, the amount of litter and plastics in and around our waterways is still an issue as 14 million pieces of plastic end up in our rivers and canals each year. Plastics and litter on our canals and rivers are part of a much bigger global problem with over 500,000 pieces of plastic estimated to reach the ocean every year.
Starting out from our Cornwall Street office, our team used their Waterman Aspen in the Community day to volunteer to pick up the litter from the canal in Birmingham City Centre.
Building wooden vegetable frames
Colleagues at the Waterman Aspen head office used their community day to build wooden vegetable frames, part of a series of ‘Grow Your Own’ kits which are provided to vulnerable individuals and low income households. Our team threw themselves into the challenge and built over 200 frames over the two half-days.
Kingsbury Water Park
Working alongside our Waterman Group colleagues, our team in the West Midlands had a productive day volunteering at Kingsbury Water Park. They helped with the construction of a bridge, which they are proudly pictured on here, that replaces the previous rotten and dangerous one. A huge amount of weed and overgrown shrub clearance also took place to make the water park a much safer environment for the community.
Take a look at the team in action here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S743LDOw6m0
The Big Clean Up
Our volunteers took part in a national CSR litter picking event to clean up our communities. Everyone who signed up helped clean up their own neighbourhoods and collected over 12,000 pieces of litter in two week-long events, smashing our target of 10,000!
Volunteering at Oxford Food Hub
Thanks to members of our Central team who have recently worked with Oxford Food Hub to sort out the large amount of food donations the hub has received in the run up to Christmas.
The 3 groups who attended really enjoyed helping out at this busy time of year.
Well done team!
Cutting back overgrown footpath area
Colleagues in our Rail team recently carried out their Waterman Aspen in the Community day at Warley Woods park in Birmingham.
The park is purely run by volunteers and our team helped out on the day by cutting and clearing the overgrown brambles and vegetation outside the park to take the footpath back to normal width.
It looks like it was a very wet but very productive volunteering day. Well done everyone!