What began as a throwaway question at a team meeting about doing a charity eventÂ snowballed… into the team donating a day of their working weekÂ to Millpond Primary School based in Bristol as part of Business in the Community’s Give & Gain Day 2009.Â The school had put in a request for a volunteer team to come and overhaul an underused area of their property and to turn unused land into a reading areaÂ and another into a vegetable garden where the childre could grow-their-own.
Turning up to inspect theÂ site at 5pm on the Thursday evening, the team realised they would have to work hard the following day to get their plans complete and readyÂ before the caretaker closed the school for the weekend. And so the digging began… both figuratively in terms of time and effort, and literally in terms of shovels and pick-axes. (I can only imagine the sight becauseÂ I wasn’t able to join them – I had childcare issues to contend with.)
Friday morning at 8am the team arrived bright eyed and bushy tailed, with the 2 areas seperated by the playground cleared of rubbish and old tyres, etc. More digging followed. I have it on good authority that digging holes to embed the posts of the raised beds area was “pretty hard work, actually”. Luckily the day was neither too hot (although there were some pale legs on display in shorts) norÂ did it rain (does 2 drops count?).
With interested children looking on every now and again, and a gratefulÂ Headteacher giving a welcome speech – adrenalin was pumping and the team worked hard, very hard (and they did some more digging). They weren’t the only Give & Gain team on-site actually. Â The other team were working on an ambitious decking project – I hope they considered the pest control implications of deckingÂ ;)Â – and still hadn’t finished by the time our guys left.
When the local Bristol Evening Post journalist turned up in the afternoon, the team were subjected to requests of “hold the plant pot like this, walk towards me, look at the camera” and “look up whilst you’re painting the benches please” and “as you’re hammering, look at the camera”. Luckily there were no accidents (health and safety first) and we’re still waiting to read the story and see theÂ pics from the paper.
Come 5pm all was ready, with a quick pizza break at lunchtime, and an exhausted bunch ofÂ RentokilÂ marketeers ready to depart. As Brigitta said: “It was great to see the immediate visible and tangible change to the area.” Looking at the photos you can see how under utilised the area was before and now it has been made into a much more useful and generally brighter area for the children to benefit from.