Our employees are encouraged and supported to invest time and resources for social, charitable and community networks. All our Waterman Aspen staff benefit from one day a year each in which to undertake a volunteer role in community projects, some of which are very close to their heart.
All over the UK there have been thriving projects and enthusiastic Waterman staff at the helm assisting in interesting projects creating a better environment and helping the wider community.
Here are some of our activities below.
Canal & River Trust Plastics Challenge
Our West Midlands team recently took part in the Plastics Challenge, a clean up initiative implemented by the Canal & River Trust to help make local canals and rivers a beautiful place that everyone can enjoy.
Staying close to your home has become more important than ever in recent times. 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.
But together we can stop this. It’s the little things we do on our doorstep that can make a world of difference. If everyone who visits one of our canals or rivers picks up just one piece of plastic, they’d be clear within a year.
Starting out from our Cornwall Street office, our team used their Waterman Aspen CSR day to volunteer to pick up the litter from the canal in Birmingham City Centre.
Well done to all the team who took part and hopefully we can all take their example to keep our canals and rivers clean and plastic free.
Creating Temporary Accommodation for the Homeless at Glencoe Road
Waterman are proud to be involved with youth homelessness charity, Roundabout, and Projex Building Solutions (Projex) to transform a large apartment building on Glencoe Road, Sheffield, into individual and shared apartments for six young people who would otherwise be homeless. Since it started in 1977, Roundabout has supported homeless people aged 16-25. They now provide shelter, support and life skills for over 250 young people per day who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in South Yorkshire.
As part of the collaboration with Leeds-based Projex, Waterman will be providing pro bono mechanical and electrical engineering design services alongside structural engineers ARP, architects Integreat Plus, PWC Building Control Services and suppliers Heatrea Salida and Vent Axia.
Steven Halmshaw, Waterman’s Director for Building Services, commented; “It is a pleasure to be a part of this project, collaboratively working alongside the generous design teams and suppliers to apply our respective skills and knowledge for such a worthwhile cause.” Work is due to start on site in April for its first residents to take occupancy in the summer. If you would like to learn more about Roundabout, please click here
CSR - Kingsbury Water Park
Amongst many tasks undertaken was the repair of the revetment around the kids zip wire.
It was an extremely wet and soggy day but that didn’t put a dampener on the spirts of the team of volunteers who pulled together to get as much done as possible.
Well done to everyone involved.
Boldon School Design Project
Graeme Barella, Waterman Aspen’s North East Area Manager, introduced students at Boldon School in South Tyneside (North England) to the exciting careers on offer within civil engineering, setting the scene for their challenge.
Their brief was based on Newcastle City Council commissioning the students of Boldon to carry out the design for the new River Tyne crossing, presenting an opportunity to showcase their creative side during the course of the project.
Graeme helped the students getting started with their initial ideas and provided some basic engineering guidance, before leaving them to develop their solutions over a few weeks. He then returned as part of a Dragons Den-style judging panel to assess the final designs pitches..
Each of the three groups had five minutes to outline their design’s unique selling points, presenting models and sketches in an attempt to win over the five judges. The first group proposed a glass walkway over a road bridge to act as a tourist attraction, with the second group showcasing a hand-made cardboard model of a cable-stayed road bridge, complete with a built-in lifting mechanism that allowed ships to pass underneath. Finally, the third group took their creativity to another level and presented a tropical aquarium-tunnel for pedestrians.
After carefully considering each design, the judges crowned the second group, with their cable-stayed bridge, the overall winner due to their outstanding engineering judgement, commending their commitment and professionalism to the project as a whole.
Graeme praised those taking part; “It was great to see the creativity on show from some of the students. It was a really positive experience overall, providing an interesting challenge that will hopefully encourage them to take up a career in engineering. We could definitely use some of those innovative minds in the industry. I am grateful to Boldon School, Zenith Training and South Tyneside Council for asking us to take part in their business enterprise project and I look forward to taking part again in the future.”
Providing AutoCAD Training
Ross Onufryk, Senior Technician/Assistant Engineer (one of Waterman Aspens own AutoCAD Guru’s) provided the training and was ably assisted by Stuart Farnell (who has been seconded into Rochdale Council for the past 3 years and had arranged the training session).
As part of an agreed Social Value day for Rochdale Council, Stuart had canvassed each individual on their level of expertise and aspirations. The training was carried out at the new, modern premises of RBC in one of the many specialised training rooms where Ross was able to demonstrate various AutoCAD techniques upon the large wall mounted screen whilst the participants observed. The participants were then given the opportunity to follow suit on their own work laptops at their own speed, with assistance from Ross and Stuart as necessary. Ross was able to demonstrate various techniques from the very basic such as opening up the programme, creating a new drawing, bringing in various sizes of drawing sheet, importing OS backgrounds, how to draw simple lines and shapes, how to add text and dimensions and how to work with model space and paper space. The feedback from the participants at the end of the training was that they were delighted, and they had found the session very useful.
Both Ross and Stuart were able to witness a distinct growth in all of the participants confidence as the course progressed and it was very pleasing to see each of them moving on from at first being hesitant and nervous of the programme, to beginning to experiment with different commands towards the end of the session. It was stressed to the participants how important it would be to follow up the training by now trying to use AutoCAD whenever they got the opportunity in their daily routine. Stuart has pledged to be available to help with any questions/problems that they might come across over the coming weeks.
On the same day, Ross also provided some more detailed/advanced AutoCAD tuition to Stuart, passing on several techniques to improve and quicken up the use of AutoCAD that he has acquired over the years. Part of the reason was to ensure that Stuart could operate AutoCAD to the maximum to ensure he was giving RMC the most efficient service. The chance to learn advanced skills like this has proved invaluable and was something that really benefitted from being carried out in a face to face environment where questions could be asked and discussions about best practice take place.
Manchester Social Value 2020:People, Place and Planet Conference
In February of this year Mark Woodhead, Associate Director, North west, attended The Social Value 2020: People, Place and Planet conference, hosted jointly with Manchester Council Manchester-based Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES). The purpose of the event was to showcase how concerted efforts over more than a decade ago made the Council an acknowledged national leader in social value. The Conference was attended by a mixture of Local Authorities, Procurement bodies, Consultants, Contractors and Charitable organisations
To explain, the term Social Value within a public business sector, relates to giving back and contributing to the local community in any way, creating and sustaining local jobs and businesses through conscious effort and awareness.
The joint aims and the message the Hosts wanted to share was to make sure that as much as possible of the council’s spending is retained within Manchester and Greater Manchester, in the support of local jobs and the wider economy. The economy sustainability would allow growth of local economies and address issues including poverty.
With such a drive to sustain local businesses MCC were able to demonstrate their commitment to Social Value. They achieved a fantastic result in increasing spend with local suppliers from 52% in 2008/2009 and raising the bar to now spend 70% in 2018/2019 pumping an extra £138 million into the Manchester economy. More than half of this spend in 2018/19 (50.5%) was with small and medium-sized enterprises. The Council is actively trying to make contracts accessible to these smaller businesses, for example by breaking big contracts into smaller chunks and cutting red tape.
The event showcased how the current Town Hall transformation project– which is worth around £170m – will generate an estimated extra £9m-worth of social value through jobs, training, learning, mentoring and volunteering opportunities delivered by management contractor Lendlease and sub-contractors. The construction programme has been broken up into around 150 individual work packages – more than triple the number of work packages you would expect on project of this value. It has opened the door to Small and SME’s allowing them accessibility to take part in the project and develop their local businesses.
Delegates from the Voluntary and Community Sectors attended the conference and highlighted how it was important that businesses-built relationships with VCS to provide support. Long term relationships were providing benefits to both the VCS and employees of Companies. Voluntary community Sectors reported that due to the awareness of public sector staff and suppliers– they could see commitment, ownership and deep pride in the support they were providing with MCC being at the heart of Social Value and asking for volunteers both from the public and their suppliers.
Coming Soon... Volunteer Work at Hardwick Hall Derbyshire
As part of Waterman Aspens commitment to social corporate responsibility, the Water Team have offered a day of their time to carry out volunteer work with the National Trust at Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire.
A number of enthusiastic members of the Water team are planning the planting of a sizeable amount of trees and building of protective surrounds within the Hardwick estate. This will involve digging in tree saplings and constructing timber frames to protect the new trees from the native deer within the estate.
Hardwick hall is a conservation area owned and managed by the National Trust, the addition of tree planting aims to restore the areas of woodland that were observed when that hall was built in 1500 as well as increasing the amenity, biodiversity and economy of the estate for future generations of visitors to enjoy.
Andrew Herd Volunteering for NHS
As no-one is currently allowed to visit patients in hospital, a ‘Give and Go’ service makes it possible for friends and relatives to drop off things like magazines, clothes, phones/chargers, snacks and drinks or collect laundry. Andrew spent an enjoyable and rewarding day helping carry out this service in a socially distanced way with the team.
This is a vital service that lets patients know they are cared about even if visiting in person isn’t possible.
Andrew hopes to do some more voluntary work at Gartnavel in the coming weeks.
Thanks to Andrew and all of the NHS volunteers out there. Your care is much appreciated.
CSR Day - School Fence Painting
Waterman Aspen’s north east team partnered with the local volunteer centre and St Joseph’s RC Primary School to provide a fresh new look to the school’s rusty school gates and perimeter fence. It is the first thing parents and children see when they enter the school and the Head Teacher was overjoyed with the finished product.
During the current circumstances, it was a great opportunity for our staff to get together, catch up and provide something meaningful to the local community.
Thanks to all who took part.
World Heritage Site Painting Day
As part of our Corporate Social Responsibility which gives each staff member 1 day per year to carry out voluntary work within the community, 4 of our staff 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.
The 4 members of Waterman Aspen staff who took part were Mohammed Sarfraz, Simon Wilkins, Connor Parkes and Chris Price.
Thank you so much to our staff and all the volunteers who finished the painting of the railings in super quick time due to the power of community.
A bit more detail about the World Heritage location here.