Find out about the community investment initiatives that our contractors have been undertaking in the London Borough of Newham.
THE ASTA COMMUNITY HUB, SILVERTOWN
In April 2013, 32 employees from Taylor Woodrow, the contractor working on the renovation of Newham’s Connaught Tunnel, spent three days painting and decorating the interior of the Asta Hub in Silvertown, as part of their Crossrail Community Investment Programme. It was a rewarding time, with much brushwork undertaken and plenty of tea and cake supplied by the grateful centre managers.
The Asta Hub provides a broad range of facilities right in the heart of the local community, including play and learning for pre-schoolers, life skills sessions for adults with learning difficulties, homework clubs, drama groups, music, media and photography sessions and much more besides. Later in the year it will host a wedding reception.
Tracy Smith, the Manager of the Asta Hub, welcomed the contribution: “We’re really happy with the end results. The Hub looks and feels much cleaner and fresher thanks to the great work done by Taylor Woodrow.”
Steve Devey, from Taylor Woodrow, added: “It’s great to be able to help out in the local community. We all had a great time getting the painting done and the regular supply of tea and biscuits certainly helped to keep us going.”
RIVER LEA BANKSIDE REGENERATION, PUDDING MILL LANE
Morgan Sindall, constructing the new Crossrail tunnel portal at Pudding Mill Lane in north Newham, began their Community Investment Programme on the banks of the River Lea in May 2012.
Working in partnership with British Waterways, Morgan Sindall and Crossrail volunteers will undertake a programme of bankside regeneration over the duration of their contract. Initiatives include clearing the banks of invasive weeks, landscaping, planting reeds and shrubs and erecting barriers to protect plants while they are establishing themselves. The work will encourage biodiversity and provide new habitat for wildlife including coots, moorhens and kingfishers. It will also make the canal look more attractive for people using the waterway.
Annie Myers of British Waterways explains the significance of the project: “There are very few natural banks left on the 2,500 miles of canals and rivers on England’s waterways. Help like this from Crossrail and Morgan Sindall allows us to prevent further erosion of those that remain and helps us tackle many more projects than we could ever do alone.”
Morgan Sindall environmental advisor, Casey Fleming, added: “We’re working in this area for three years, and we don’t want to just pitch up and erect worksite hoarding without reaching over and becoming part of the community.
“Sustainability is embedded in our management system and schemes like this support the planet, local people and employees. They also help us to share the profit that we make in the area where we make it."
Book Buddies - St Luke’s School
When it comes to reading stories, at St Luke’s School it’s not the adults reading to kids, it’s the kids doing the hard work – but hard work pays off.
Thanks to Crossrail and Taylor Woodrow at Victoria Doc Portal, the “Book Buddies” initiative has been running at St Luke’s School for the past 5 terms. The aim of the programme is for children to read to adults, and in turn, adults help pupils by explaining difficult words, or meaning behind challenging sentences, so that children have a better understanding of the story they recite.
Every Wednesday or Thursday 4 to 5 volunteers from the C340 Crossrail and Contractor teams would make their way to the school for an hour, and there, spend their time with groups of children from years 3, 4, and 5, who would read to them.
The scheme has proven to be a major success with the children, whose reading skills have measurably improved over the time of their participation, and a £30 book voucher awarded to the child most notably improved (pictured below, first on the left, with other winners commended for their improvement in reading). As well as this, over 250 books have been donated to the school by the C340 teams, meaning that there are plenty of books to go around.
As part of the continuing partnership with the school, and to continue expanding young minds, the VDP teams pulled together and sponsored the children of year 4 to attend the wonderful musical Matilda. As well as being educational, the experience was even more magical due to the fact that most of the children had never before visited the theatre.
In an effort to inspire potential future engineers, the VDP site team invited children from St Luke’s school to visit their construction site. The youngster’s got to have a look at the works, and lean about some of the machinery and elements of construction used to shape their local community. Judging by the enthusiasm of those who attended, Newham may soon see a surge of new engineers.
Ascension Church – Custom House
As part of the Victoria Dock Portal Community Investment Programme, the Taylor Woodrow team contacted the local Garden Community Café in Prince Regent, who advised them of a certain church in need of refurbishment.
The hall of the Ascension Church had not been maintained for the past 20 years, and was desperately in need of renovation. It had been completely disused for at least 6 months due to the hazardous condition of its flooring. This meant that a community programme which had featured greatly in activities for children and the elderly could not continue until this was resolved.
Thanks to the team’s engagement, new floors were laid in a matter of weeks, enabling the rich programme of activates, which had been running at the Church since 1997, to instantly reassume. The hall is now once again being used for social activities such as dances, entertainment, and twice weekly lunches for the elderly, keeping the community happy and engaged.
In addition to this, the Victoria Dock Portal team also sponsored attendance, and new uniforms, for the Ascension Football Academy run by the Church. The Academy provides children and young people of the local community with training delivered by AFA qualified coaches, as well as empowering them with life skills that help them reach their potential.
Newham community childcare service initiative
Throughout their contact with the Newham Regeneration Team, the Taylor Woodrow and Crossrail teams came to a conclusion that the single parents of Newham, those juggling jobs, children, and life in general, are some of the more disadvantaged members of the local community, and certainly assisting them would be a worthwhile community investment.
In order to lessen the workload and financial burden of childcare for the residents, the VDP team contributed money to the Community Child Care Service. The donation enabled CCCS to create 10 additional places on their January 2014 child-minder course, designed specifically to teach participants how to care for toddlers and babies. As well as this, a free of charge crèche service was set up to benefit families who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford it.
With newly qualified nannies looking after their children, parents within the community were able to attend work with peace of mind, knowing that their loved ones are well looked-after.
As well as investing in adult education, the VDP team made a contribution to the children’s development by sponsoring the children attending the crèche service to visit Kew Gardens on an educational field trip. The trip was a fantastic success, and great proof that investment in education really pays off.