npower and Zurich, two of Swindon’s largest employers, have swapped their shirts and boots for overalls and wellies, digging deep to support the development of a community environmental facility at a local primary school.
Volunteers f r o m both npower and Zurich have been working with Rodbourne Cheney Primary School to form a ‘field of knowledge’, developing a variety of creative learning zones using natural and recycled materials.
The primary school has developed various areas of the field over the last year, involving members of the local community which suffers f r o m high levels of unemployment.
Rising to the challenge, the teams set about using their working day to revamp selected areas of the field. The npower team focused on creating an outdoor seating area, with a barbeque and log seating for children to observe the surrounding wildlife, whilst Zurich created a wildflower garden, with the aim of attracting butterflies and other wildlife to the area.
The day’s activities took place as part of Volunteers’ Week (1 – 7 June), which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.
Tony Martin, volunteer development manager at Zurich Community Trust, said: “Working together has been a rewarding experience for everyone involved. By joining forces we have been able to take on a big challenge for the school and local community.”
In 2008, both npower and Zurich were awarded the prestigious Community Mark f r o m Business in the Community (BitC), in recognition of their commitment to investing in their local communities.
Jacqui Gavin, community investment executive at npower , said: “There was some healthy rivalry on the day which only spurred the volunteers on. It was fantastic to look back at the end of the session and see what we had been able to achieve by working together.”
Liz Matthews, community tutor at Rodbourne Cheney Primary School, said: “We are dedicated to developing outdoor learning spaces where the children can learn about the importance of the environment and protecting wildlife in an inspirational multi-sensory environment.
“The volunteer teams have helped to take us one step closer to achieving our vision, which we plan to open up to the surrounding community so that everyone can enjoy this wonderful space.”
The teams plan to transform a dilapidated school shed into an outdoor classroom when they return for their last session in the summer.
RWE npower is the only utility business, amongst 13 other large companies in the UK, to receive the prestigious BitC Community Mark. The Community Mark is a new BitC standard, created to recognise companies that are good investors in local communities and who have brought about real and positive changes. Rodbourne Cheney Primary School has established a vision for outdoor learning with the help of parents, local charities including TWIGGS and the Great Western Community Forest, and the surrounding community.