Community and Conservation Week is an annual event providing opportunities for our people to access paid volunteering leave of up to 16 hours per year to support local projects across the country that help local communities, protect the environment and enhance sustainability.
Examples of community projects in 2019
Harlesden Town Garden in Brent
Wates volunteers took to Harlesden Town Garden where they spent 36 hours painting, weeding and garden clearing.
Following a long period of neglect, a community-led initiative helped to turn the area into a much-loved allotment in 2013. Having been transformed from an area that once attracted anti-social behaviour, litter and vandalism, Harlesden Town Garden relies on volunteers to help maintain the space for the community.
The volunteering initiative forms part of Wates’ work across the borough on behalf of Brent Council. This includes the construction of 150 new homes at Knowles House on Longstone Avenue for independent living and temporary accommodation and a ten-year housing management programme to improve its social housing.
The Wates Group’s presence in the borough has already generated an impressive £16.5m of social and economic value over the last five years.Find out more
Wandsworth community hall
Local community venues in Wandsworth have been given a fresh lick of paint thanks to Wates volunteers giving back to the local community.
Wates volunteers spent more than 90 hours preparing and repainting the main hall at Newlands Hall community centre for the benefit of local residents. The hall is close to the Stag House site currently being developed by Wates Residential to provide 21 new homes, including 10 for those with physical and learning disabilities, by Spring 2020.
Wates Residential also donated £500 towards decorating materials, while supply chain partners PHD Scaffolding donated £200 and Travis Perkins another £250. In total, the project also generated over £6,300 in social value.Find out more
Havering community litter pick
The joint venture partners, which are working together to deliver the biggest regeneration programme in Havering, teamed up to collect litter from Berwick Woods on Wednesday.
Wates Residential is currently working in partnership with Havering Council to deliver around 5,000 high quality homes over the next 12 to 15 years, increasing the amount of council rented accommodation and affordable homes.Find out more
Lakeside Country Park Eastleigh
The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) has been working with the site owners, Eastleigh Borough Council, for several years to control the invasive plant Himalayan Balsam. Although very beautiful when in flower, this non-native plant often takes over the banks of streams and wetlands, shading out native flora and creating problems with erosion.
The volunteers pulled up the invasive Himalayan Balsam along approximately 20 metres of the Monk’s Brook river, next to Lakeside Country Park. The park staff gave very positive feedback about the work done, and it would not have been possible to complete the task without the help of the Wates volunteers.
The work will result in a reduced regrowth and has stopped the plant from setting seed helping us to work towards the removal of this plant from the site.
Adelaide Nature Reserve Camden
The site has been a nature reserve since 1984 but for hundreds of years had been a hay meadow area which provided food for London’s horses. A railway was built through the area in the 19th century and Stephenson’s railway tunnel can be seen nearby. When completed in 1837 this was one of the engineering wonders of the world.
The site had been closed due to works on the railway line for two years and maintenance had not been up-kept. With the help of Wates volunteers, the site was made ready to reopen to the public, including school groups.
The team from Wates were joined at Adelaide Nature reserve by Charlie Wates who got stuck in helping to clear all the pathways around the site.
Ashtead Common Leatherhead
Ashtead Common is a 200 hectare (500 acre) public open space which is part of a larger area of open countryside, including Epsom Common. It is an ancient wooded common with over 2,300 ancient oak pollards providing a stable habitat for many rare and endangered deadwood species. The site also includes two scheduled Ancient Monuments – a Roman villa and a triangular earthwork.
It’s incredibly important to control invasive and dominant plants at Ashtead Common, which is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. This enables the growth of a more diverse range of plant species, which increases the amount of food for pollinating insects and the rich variety of nesting bird species that use the common.
Wates volunteers were able to clear five hectares of dominant bracken to help improve the biodiversity of the Ashtead Common and encourage more wildflower species.
Russia Dock in Southwark
Russia Dock Woodland is a 35 acre site adjacent to Stave Hill Ecology Park that is comprised of woodland, meadows, amenity grassland and a series of wildlife ponds and waterways that run through the entire site.
The former Russia Dock was originally used for the importing of timber from Norway, Russia and Sweden. Following the closure of the docks in the early 1970s, the area was redeveloped by the London Dockland Development Corporation, with a number of the docks retained,filled in and planted as woodland and grassland.
The Woodland still contains surviving dock features including the retaining wall capstones, depth gauges, bollards, mooring chains and tracks. The woodland is managed to protect and promote local flora and fauna, and as an important local green space for the community.
Wates volunteers planted 400 wildflowers, creating meadows on the grassland banks through the woodland. The team also added new planting to the existing meadows to encourage a more diverse mix of wildflowers.
Cantelowes Gardens in Camden
Cantelowes Gardens is a large multipurpose green space next to Camden Road. The gardens are well used by the public and designated as recreation, sport and play. Local residents had a major input into the plans to rejuvenate the park, which now includes a multi-use sports pitch and pavilion, two children’s playgrounds and landscaping work to provide quiet areas, shrub beds and dog walking space.
Wates volunteers helped create four new raised beds, transforming the entrance to the gardens. The beds will be planted up by local residents and the friends of Canetelowes gardens, supported by TCV and the Camden Green Gym volunteers. The beds will not only provide additional planting space for plants and food for pollinating insects, but will also to create an attractive and welcoming entrance to the gardens that can be enjoyed by the community.