Cultivating Sustainable Green Communities
Quadron Services’ hub for community engagement projects
Quadron Services’ hub for community engagement projects
Having worked closely with local authority clients for over 20 years, Quadron appreciates the challenge of delivering value for money services in the face of ever-tightening budgets. All too often, a lack of resources or specialist knowledge means that authorities are unable to implement projects which would benefit the local community – this is where Quadron’s Development Team can assist.
We have experience of delivering activities which involve local stakeholder, help authorities and businesses comply with the Social Value Act and which can generate revenue. Some examples of our expertise are shown below, but this is not exhaustive – please contact us to discuss your individual project requirements.
Businesses are increasingly looking to provide volunteering opportunities for their staff in order to fulfil the aims of their Corporate Social Responsibility obligations and to encourage their staff to take part in team building activities.
Quadron’s Development Team works with a number of well-regarded volunteer brokers, including Hands on London and Timebank to organise a wide range of horticultural and conservation related activities. From preserving habitats for dormice to creating woodland walkways through some of London’s well-known parks, we can arrange sessions for various group sizes and levels of experience. We regularly see many familiar faces who have enjoyed the experience so much they have returned as volunteers on numerous occasions.
The Green Flag Award is seen as a benchmark of excellence for public green space. Quadron has worked closely with many of its clients to develop and implement management plans for their parks, bringing considerable social and environmental benefits to the local neighbourhood. Several of our staff are qualified Green Flag judges.
Quadron’s Development Team can successfully manage your Green Flag entries, including compiling or advising on park management plans and undertaking Green Flag training with client and community groups.
Quadron idverde was pleased to support the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham (LBHF) Projects Team, Thames Water, and students from Hammersmith Academy in planting the first two Melina Road Rain Gardens, which are part of a sustainable urban drainage (SUD) project.
Quadron idverde’s Hammersmith team was thrilled to receive the call from LBHF Project Officer, Penny Brennan, to support the first planting day, which took place on 7th June 2016, with students from Hammersmith Academy planting up the first two rain garden beds.
The Melina Road Rain Garden Scheme forms part of the wider Counters Creek Sustainable Drainage Pilot Project developed by Thames Water. The scheme aims to alleviate surface water flooding on the road and pedestrian area at times of heavy rainfall by slowing the flow of excess rainwater. The water will filter through the sustainable drainage system beneath the rain gardens and slowly flow into the sewer network.
After consultation with Hammersmith Academy, Thames Water and the LBHF parks team, Quadron idverde procured a range of suitable plants for the planting day.
To begin the planting event, Elizabeth Sale from Thames Water explained the concept of sustainable urban drainage systems and how the Melina Road rain garden will function.
After this, the LBHF Project Officer, Penny Brennan, and Quadron idverde Services Development Manager, Preeti Chatwal-Kauffman, began to lay out the plants and explained why the particular varieties had been chosen.
Gardeners Jack and Wolf from Quadron idverde’s Hammersmith team then went through the finer points of planting with the students, including preparing planting pits, mixing compost, soil and bone meal, and ensuring the plants’ roots were well firmed in and the stock watered.
Kensington and Chelsea and Hammersmith and Fulham’s Bi-borough Parks Manager, Ian Ross, and Quadron idverde Corporate Development Manager, Andrew Kauffman, also joined the team to encourage the students and help with the planting, along with teachers and support staff from the Academy, who worked tirelessly alongside the students to get the two rain beds planted.
Thames Water’s Contracts Manager, Geoff Brumbridge, commented: “It has been a great pleasure for us to have the support and involvement of the Academy students and members of staff, the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, and Quadron idverde for the planting of the first two rain gardens at Melina Road, which are part of our sustainable drainage pilot project.”
Quadron idverde Service Development Manager, Preeti Chatwal-Kauffman, added: “It was amazing planting with the students from the Hammersmith Academy—they have definitely got green fingers. The new Melina Road rain gardens will not only contribute to flood attenuation by taking excess water from the pedestrian areas, but will also add visual interest to the street. Quadron idverde looks forward to working with the LBHF client, Hammersmith Academy and Thames Water later in the year on the remaining three beds, and we hope to see a ‘Friends of Melina Gardens’ group formed of residents from the surrounding streets.”
Quadron idverde’s Kensington and Chelsea team was pleased to welcome 14 staff from American clothing retailer, J.Crew, and volunteering charity, Hands on London, to Holland Park to make improvements to the Forest School area in June 2016. The Forest School is an important resource for local schoolchildren to access and learn about nature and conservation.
Quadron idverde worked with Kensington and Chelsea’s Parks and Ecology Team and J.Crew’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Co-ordinators, Liam Connelly, Louise McCartney and Ose Enobakhare to agree a targeted volunteering opportunity for the J.Crew team which met the company’s CSR objectives to support projects that benefit education. After a meeting on site at Holland Park it was agreed that the teams would carry out two tasks:
The date was set for 01 June, and the challenge relayed to the J.Crew team by Liam, Louise and Ose.
After welcoming the J.Crew volunteers and conducting a brief tour of the site, along with tool and willow weaving demonstrations, the volunteers got stuck in to the willow weaving and footpath creation with gusto.
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea’s Ecology Manager, Leanne Brisland, visited the site shortly after the J.Crew volunteer session, and was delighted with the work carried out: “I have just been down to the Forest School to look at the Willow Classroom in advance of the next school group, and what an amazing transformation! This, combined with the additional path network created by the teams, has made a huge contribution to us being able to actively teach young people about the environment at Holland Park.
“What the teams achieved in half a day was a superhuman effort. Thanks J.Crew and Hands on London for your support, and to Quadron for facilitating the afternoon’s volunteering.”
Quadron idverde’s Corporate Development Manager, Andrew Kauffman, added: “Thank you so much to the J.Crew team for your time at the Holland Park Forest School. The outdoor classroom looks amazing, to say nothing of the close to 300 metres of pathway you managed to create. This is such an amazing feat in just a single afternoon. Your energy and obvious commitment really shone through and it was a pleasure to receive your help. Thank you on behalf of all the young people that benefit from the Holland Park Forest School.”
Hands on London’s Jon Meech also commented: “I would very much like to thank Quadron idverde and the RBKC Ecology Team for the hosting and support of our volunteers from J.Crew. This is the second time we have had the pleasure of giving our time to the Forest School in Holland Park, and on each occasion it has been an amazing experience. Thank you so much!”
Quadron idverde, the London Borough of Southwark and Groundwork London were delighted to welcome a group of 40 volunteers from PwC to Southwark Park on Friday 20th May 2016.
The event, which saw PwC staff from the Global Mobility and PA’s functions give their time to support local community projects, was organised through PwC’s nominated charity, Groundwork.
The group was welcomed on site by Daniel Brittle, Groundwork's Senior Community Project Officer, who gave an overview of the day. Andy Robinson, Quadron Development Manager and Jon Best, Southwark Ecology Officer then provided an overview of the park, conservation initiatives within the borough and a context to the tasks to be undertaken. The volunteers were then split into five teams and relocated to their task areas for a Health and Safety briefing and detailed instructions on their work for the day.
Two teams, led by Quadron Head Gardener, Lynne Olding, Gardener, Kieron Lee and Andrea Pita from Southwark Council, worked in the formal flower beds adjacent to the park entrance. This involved uprooting spent bulbs and polyanthus, sorting and bagging for transplanting and digging over the beds in preparation for re-planting.
Two further teams, led by Jon Best and Daniel Brittle, worked in the park’s nature area, clearing invasive species and re-packing ‘bug hotels’ with habitat material.
The final team, led by Quadron's Andy Robinson, revitalised an area of conservation border by digging over the ground and re-planting with the recycled plants removed from the formal flower beds and installing a new stag beetle loggery.
All the teams worked incredibly hard to achieve their goals for the day and completed the tasks to a very high standard.
Andy Robinson, Quadron Development Manager, commented, “This really was a fantastic demonstration of co-operative working. Everyone from Groundwork, London Borough of Southwark, Quadron and PwC pulled together to organise a fantastic day of activities. The PwC teams’ commitment, dedication and hard work shone through and they achieved a fantastic result, delivering real added-value to this popular community park.”
Jon Best, Southwark Ecology Officer, said, “Southwark Council thanks the volunteers from PwC for a great day and bringing such a positive attitude and enthusiasm on the day.
"They achieved more than we hoped for and have helped enhance nature in Southwark Park, well done”.
Andrea Pita from Southwark Council’s Parks team said, “It was a great team building day from my perspective for Parks and Quadron. The volunteer girls were an amazing bunch, all in all a wonderful day in the sunshine. Let’s do more in Southwark Park soon.”
Quadron Services Limited was delighted to be working in partnership with Charnwood Borough Council by teaming up with Quorn Parish Council, Serco Ltd, Rawlins Academy, Quorn in Bloom, and other members of the local community as part of Keep Britain Tidy’s ‘Clean for the Queen’ campaign.
The event, which was co-ordinated by Julie Anne Byrne from Environmental Services Charnwood Borough Council, and supported by Councillors David Slater and Richard Shepherd, along with Quorn Parish Council, rallied an army of local volunteers from Quorn in Leicestershire to help with a special clean-up of the village to mark the Queen’s 90th Birthday.
The turnout was absolutely amazing with 250 school children from Rawlins Academy, local councillors, members of Quorn In Bloom, and other local community groups all coming together to work as a team to litter pick and tidy up the area. Local MP, Nicky Morgan, also supported the event commenting, “It is great to see everyone so involved, including support from Rawlins Academy”.
Following a brief safety talk from Charnwood Borough Council’s Health & Safety Officer, Richard Wade, the children went off with their relevant supervisors to various sites around Quorn village, including Stafford Orchard Park and Tom Long’s Meadow.
Jane Hollingworth, Chair of Quorn in Bloom, took one group of children to the churchyard of St Bartholomew’s where the children were amazed to see how much litter had been thrown into the shrubs. The children that litter picked behind a row of shops were equally surprised to see the amount of rubbish that had collected in a relatively small area. However, it wasn’t long before the area was well and truly ‘blitzed’ by the children and looked so much better for the tidy up.
Quadron’s Contract Manager, Tony Jones, and Midland’s Horticultural Development Manager, Nicola Clarke, took a small group of pupils to Meynell Road to help clear the ditches by the side of the road. These were full of litter that had either been thrown from passing vehicles or had been blown into the ditch by the wind. The children really enjoyed a spot of competitive litter picking - looking to see who could find the strangest and largest items of rubbish.
It is amazing how such collaborative efforts and small actions can help to make all the difference and show the value of making public places litter free. Over 50 bags of rubbish were collected from this event alone. Litter spoils the enjoyment of our towns and countryside and costs millions to clear up. By taking on responsibility Quorn’s local communities, together with the Parish and Borough Council and partners are demonstrating that dropping litter is socially unacceptable.
Teams from Harvard University Alumni joined Quadron idverde and Hands on London at Kensington and Chelsea’s Holland Park for a family volunteer day in April 2016.
After a morning briefing from Hands on London and a tool demonstration from Quadron staff at the Ecology Centre, the team embarked on the day’s tasks, including:
Team 1 was despatched with Quadron Assistant Grounds Maintenance Manager, Ben Martin, and Quadron Gardener, Daijiro Mizuno to tackle the invasive bamboo, which would then be used as construction material for the Harvard Bug Hotel.
Team 2, accompanied by Quadron Apprentice, Jo Boulton, and Quadron Corporate Development Manager, Andrew Kauffman, were given a crash course in ecology building construction, including the bug hotel and stag beetle loggery.
Meanwhile, the young and young at heart worked with Quadron’s Service Development Manager, Preeti Chatwal-Kauffman and Hands on London’s Jon Meech to scavenge for materials around Holland Park to aid with the internal fit out for Kensington’s newest hotel.
At the end of a very productive day, the team of 24 intrepid volunteers managed to cut and clear 200 square metres of invasive bamboo from the ecology enclosure, construct a 5-storey bug hotel complete with green roof, and a stag beetle loggery, thereby adding valuable insect habitat to the Holland Park Ecology Enclosure.
Ben Martin, Quadron’s Assistant Grounds Maintenance Manager, said: “The Harvard volunteers worked with great enthusiasm throughout the whole day, and each of the tasks set at the beginning of the day was completed to a high standard. I know that the Quadron staff involved very much enjoyed the day. It was a pleasure having the Harvard teams in the park and they are welcome back any time.”
Joe Boulton, Quadron apprentice, said: “It was my first time working with volunteers so I was a bit apprehensive about how the day would go. However, as soon as I started working with the Harvard teams I really enjoyed the experience of working with such a diverse group of people who were eager to learn, and I would love to do it again.”
Tamara Howard from Harvard Alumni Verve Consulting, said: “I would like to thank the Quadron team on behalf of Harvard Alumni for a wonderful day. The event was fabulous and so well organised, best event many have been involved in for ages—a real feat, enjoyed by all!”
Caroline Chang from Harvard Alumni Fallon Capital, added: “A big thank you to the Quadron team for an amazing day. All the feedback from the families attending was incredibly positive. Everyone had great fun and learnt about woodland ecology. We would love for you to please keep us posted on the fauna surveys and how everyone (including centipedes, millipedes and beetles!) is doing.”
Andrew Kauffman, Quadron Corporate Development Manager, said: “What a partnership effort! I would like to thank Hands on London for choosing Quadron to host the inaugural family corporate day, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Ecology Team, for providing accommodation at the Ecology Centre and some fabulous tasks for the family volunteers. Above all, thanks to the Harvard Alumni volunteers—the energy shown by all of you on the day was superhuman. From all at Quadron, we salute you and look forward to sharing the fauna survey results with you later in the year to let you know more about the residents at the Harvard Bug Hotel.”
South West Trains and green space management company, Quadron Services, have created a new pocket community garden next to Malden Manor Station in the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames in support of the Malden Manor Community Project.
It will be called the Millais Garden, after John Everett Millais, the Pre-Raphaelite artist, who stayed at the nearby Manor House.
The garden will be a space where people can meet, exercise their green fingers, enjoy gardening and hold various community events and activities.
Following the publication of Malden Manor Community Project Report in 2014, a joint project between The Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames’ Equalities, Communities Engagement Team (ECET), Kingston University, and the wider Malden Manor Community, 29 recommendations were made for improvements to the Sheephouse Way/Malden Manor Area to improve quality of life for residents.
Findings revealed that many people avoid using Malden Manor Station, which is staffed only during peak times, due to feeling vulnerable and alone. The forecourt had become a focus for fly-tipping and did not provide a pleasant gateway to visitors, therefore negatively influencing how outsiders view Malden Manor.
The report also highlighted the lack of informal meeting places or community hubs in the area as having a negative impact on community cohesion. The area has an ethnically diverse population (for many, English is the second language) and there is a high proportion of families on low incomes, as well as isolated elderly people.
Following walkabouts with community members and South West Trains (SWT), two areas were identified as being ideal for improvements under SWT’s Adopt-a-Station community rail scheme: a piece of underused scrubland used as a pedestrian short cut (Phase 1, 2016) and a green area around an electricity pylon that had become a wind-trap for litter (Phase 2, 2017 tbc).
The idea of creating a community garden at the station, where healthy, cultural or learning engagement activities could happen, was shared with the community.
Following a meeting between South West Trains’ Community Rail Liaison Manager, Richard Kempton and Quadron’s Development Manager Preeti Chatwal-Kauffman, the possibility of funding for the Phase 1 project became a reality. Local schoolchildren and residents were consulted on features of the garden, which were fed into Quadron’s design plans.
Work to construct the garden on the small area of scrubland was completed on 01 April, with the installation of a low maintenance artificial grass surface, several raised flower beds, and benches. A community planting day will take place later this month, with members of the local community, including schools and the local police, joining in to fill the new garden with a selection of colourful planting.
Richard Kempton, Community Rail Liaison Manager at South West Trains said: “The project at Malden Manor is a perfect example of using a piece of vacant land on our property to encourage better engagement with the local community.”
“This project will see the garden become a social hub for the local community and a stepping stone to future engagement with the local residents, while giving our customers a hugely improved view when they arrive at the station.”
Trish Gant, Community Development Worker for Localities - Malden Manor Project, Equalities and Community Engagement Team (ECET), added: “The Malden Manor Station Millais Community Garden is designed to provide a site for learning and cultural engagement in an area where a community centre is lacking. Making more use of the station forecourt by increasing human presence should help to make the station feel safer.
“I am so grateful that South West Trains and Quadron Services have chosen to support the local community and the Malden Manor Adopt-a-Station Group.”
Preeti Chatwal-Kauffman, Quadron Services’ Development Manager, who designed and project managed the project, said: “Quadron Services is delighted to support South West Trains and Malden Manor Project on the John Everett Millais Community Garden at Malden Manor Station.
“This project is a fabulous example of a sustainable green community project that has helped strangers become neighbours; we look forward to the project becoming a community hub for keen gardeners across Kingston to meet and exchange horticultural advice and provide a destination spot for Kingston’s London in Bloom entry in future years.”
Potential future developments for the garden include:
Volunteers from Mapledean Nursery & Children’s Centre staff, parents, children and Quadron’s Horticulture Development Manager, Andy Robinson, engaged in a community ‘Ground Force’ day on Tuesday 8th March in support of the Wycombe Community GROW project.
Community GROW is an initiative across High Wycombe that commenced during 2015. It started as an idea at the Wycombe Children and Young People’s Local Partnership Board, which is supported by Buckinghamshire County Council. Many partner organisations that attend the Local Board identified a need to address issues around healthy eating and cooking and reducing obesity particularly among children.
Research has shown there are significant links between healthy eating, physical activity and better health and well-being outcomes for adults and children. In addition, reducing obesity levels and improving people’s health contributes significantly to lower NHS costs later in life.
The project, led by former Council employee Sheila Bees, aims to encourage local communities, and in particular children, to learn about healthy eating through growing their own produce.
A small working group was established under the Local CYP Partnership Board to develop and oversee the initiative, attended by local stakeholders on an entirely voluntary basis. The project supports the aims and priorities of many national and local strategies and plans, including the national ‘5 Ways to Well Being’ and, locally in Buckinghamshire, the Healthy Eating Strategy, the Children and Young People’s Plan, and the Child and Family Poverty Strategy.
Quadron has been in attendance at meetings to provide guidance on horticultural matters, as well as assist in sourcing materials for projects and lending tools and PPE for practical sessions. The volunteer day at Mapledean Nursery & Children’s Centre was the first scheme to get off the ground, with Head Teacher Sue Skinner taking the initiative to plant six new fruit trees and install raised beds, to be used for growing vegetables.
Sue and her Forest School gardener, Vicky, were joined by Quadron’s Horticultural Development Manager, Andy Robinson, and Community GROW’s Dave Furze to lead the day’s activities, with the day commencing with a health and safety briefing and explanation of the task.
Following a brief snow flurry, the team began by splitting into three groups; one to tackle the tree planting, one to make the wooden raised beds and the final group tackling the large mound of topsoil that needed to be wheelbarrowed to the correct location.
Following a short break for lunch, the team reconvened to finish the tasks. Finally the remaining top soil was wheelbarrowed into the new raised beds. All that was left to do was reflect on a hugely successful first project for the Community GROW initiative.
Quadron Horticultural Development Manager, Andy Robinson, said: “Today’s event at Mapledean Nursery & Children’s Centre has been hugely enjoyable. Its success is testament to Sheila Bees’ commitment to the project and Sue Skinner’s drive to make it happen here at Mapledean. It has been a privilege to be involved in the Community GROW project’s pilot scheme and we hope this is only the beginning of many more days, helping local children to learn about growing and nutrition.”
Community GROW’s Sheila Bees said: “We're off!! Thank you Mapledean for being first to embrace the GROW ethos of ‘just give it a go and have fun’. Let's get planting now!”
Mapledean Head Teacher Sue Skinner said: “The ground force day was a huge success. It was fantastic to see children, parents, staff and partners of the Nursery & Children's Centre all coming together to support the development of this project. The children will really benefit from growing their own fruit and vegetables. They will learn first-hand about where food comes from and the importance of healthy eating. Thank you to Andy Robinson and the Wycombe GROW project for all their help and guidance.”
Quadron is helping unemployed Londoners gain the skills they need to return to work, with an innovative training scheme in partnership with Get Set UK, Wandsworth Council and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.
Candidates from Government Work Programme provider, Get Set UK, have embarked on a Level 1 Diploma in Land Based Studies with Quadron idverde, following a successful Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) application, made in partnership with Wandsworth Council. Quadron idverde is delivering the Accredited Education and Learning component as part of the Tooting Common Heritage Project.
Get Set UK is an employability provider that seeks to place unemployed candidates into work placement positions so that they can gain skills that will help them secure sustainable employment and move away from dependence on benefits. Learners worked with Quadron idverde staff on the company’s Wandsworth and Kensington and Chelsea grounds maintenance contracts recently to learn a few tricks of the trade prior to their course starting on 12 April 2016.
The team’s first task involve pruning epicormic and basal growth from trees at Tooting Common and Wandsworth Cemetery.
After candidates received a full Quadron idverde company induction and carried out the necessary site and task based risk assessments, candidates received their PPE. The team then went out with Wandsworth Arboriculture Manager, Pat Langley, and Quadron idverde Corporate Development Manager, Andrew Kauffman, to tackle epicormic and basal growth on trees at Tooting Common and Wandsworth Cemetery. The team worked extremely well to compete the task, and received positive feedback from the Quadron idverde team and the Wandsworth client.
Quadron idverde Supervisor, Len Robinson, said: “It has been great working with the team from Get Set who have volunteered with Quadron at Tooting Common and Wandsworth Cemetery. We are glad the candidates have been put forward to the Level 1 Diploma in Land Based Studies linked to the Heritage Lottery Accredited Training Course—good luck all!”
Wandsworth Parks Manager (Biodiversity), Kevin Freed, added: “The Get Set group are friendly, enthusiastic and willing to learn, asking relevant questions and comprehending answers. A variety of different tasks have been programmed to increase the knowledgebase, and I hope that this introduction into land based studies will be an enjoyable and rewarding experience for all candidates.”
Following the successful completion of the tasks in Wandsworth, the Get Set teams moved on to Kensington and Chelsea’s Holland Park to work with Quadron idverde Head Gardener, Rob May, and the glasshouse team to learn about the process of preparing amenity bedding plants for display in parks and gardens.
The team thoroughly enjoyed the amenity horticulture experience and transplanted a grand total of 4,000 plugs into pots that will be grown on in the Holland Park Glasshouse until they are ready to be planted out and used in the Royal Borough’s bedding displays in late May.
Quadron idverde Head Gardener, Rob May, said: “It was a delight to work with such an enthusiastic team of volunteers. All were keen to learn the different elements that go into working in a nursery. They exceeded all expectations.”
Quadron idverde’s Assistant Ground Maintenance Manager in Kensington and Chelsea, Ben Martin, added: “The Get Set Land Based Studies Group have been of great assistance throughout their time at Holland Park. They worked well with the Quadron staff potting on summer bedding in the green house, managing to pot on a total of over 4,000 bedding plants, including pelargoniums, salvia and nicotiana. We very much appreciate the work they have done here.”
The Get Set UK team is now all set to start their Level 1 Diploma in Land Based Studies, beginning with reprofiling ditch lines on Tooting Common and constructing bait boxes at Tooting Common Pond. Quadron idverde looks forward to continuing to support them as they work towards their qualification.
‘Clean for the Queen’ is a national initiative launched by Country Life magazine in partnership with Keep Britain Tidy aiming to clear up Britain in time for Her Majesty’s official birthday in June 2016.
Members of Quadron's Birmingham grounds maintenance teams were delighted to join HRH The Duchess of Gloucester, Deputy Lieutenant Simon Topman MBE, Lord Mayor Cllr Raymond Hassall, Birmingham City Council’s Head of Parks, Darren Share MBE, volunteers from the Lawn Tennis Association and local residents in Birmingham’s Ladywood District on 6th March to clean up litter in the area.
There was a fantastic turnout, with local community groups coming together and working alongside HRH The Duchess of Gloucester as a team to litter pick and tidy up the area.
Birmingham’s Lord Mayor, Cllr Raymond Hassall, commented: “This is a fantastic opportunity for people to come together and clean our streets for the benefit of visitors and city workers alike, indeed, anyone proud of where they live and work.”
Teams of volunteers also tackled litter along the Northbrook Street Canal, which was named as the fourth worst of twelve nationally chosen ‘grot spots’ in need of a clean-up ahead of the Queen’s 90th birthday. However, the volunteers soon made a difference and left the area spick and span.
Meanwhile, in Birmingham’s Hodge Hill area, Quadron’s Horticultural Development Manager, Nicola Clarke, joined the Friends of Ward End Park, on a litter pick and tidy up, collecting 20 bags of rubbish from the park, which the Quadron team collected and removed for safe disposal.
Nicola Clarke said: “Quadron is pleased to have supported its client, Birmingham City Council, and local community groups in the Clean for the Queen weekend. Everyone who took part in the campaign over the weekend really felt that they had made a big difference to their local area. It is amazing how such collaborative efforts and small actions can make all the difference and show the value of making public places litter-free.
“Litter spoils the enjoyment of our towns and countryside, but by taking on responsibility, Birmingham’s local communities, together with Birmingham City Council and its partners, are demonstrating that dropping litter is socially unacceptable.”
Southwark currently boasts 23 Green Flag accredited parks and green spaces, the second highest number held by any English local authority.
Quadron Services has supported Southwark Council in increasing its number of Green Flag accredited parks and green spaces each year since 2004, when Quadron was awarded the Integrated Parks and Grounds Management Contract.
In January 2016, Quadron arranged for Green Flag Learning and Development Manager, Michele Walde, to deliver the two-day Green Flag Judges Training Course to 13 of Quadron’s Supervisors and Head Gardeners based on the Southwark Council contract.
The training demonstrates Quadron’s continued commitment to supporting its client, Southwark Council, in attaining and retaining these prestigious awards, which are the nationally recognised benchmark for quality green space management in the UK.
The course gave staff in charge of key Southwark parks a clear insight into what the Green Flag judges are looking for when they assess or ’mystery shop’ a park against the eight key Green Flag criteria, which include:
After spending some time in the classroom brushing up on their knowledge of the Green Flag adjudication process, the attendees carried out a mock judging of Burgess Park, which was assessed by Michele Walde.
All 13 Quadron staff passed the assessment and received a certificate. They are now Green Flag judges in their own right and will support Keep Britain Tidy as Green Flag judges in the 2016/17 campaign.
Quadron Corporate Development Manager, Andrew Kauffman, commented, “Well done to all the Quadron staff for successfully passing the assessment, and thank you to Green Flag Learning and Development Manager, Michele Walde, for putting our teams through their paces!”
Quadron’s newly qualified Green Flag judges are now looking forward to putting their new knowledge into practice. Dulwich Park Head Gardener, Gerry Kelsey, commented: “The course provided me with an in depth understanding of the process and ideology behind the Green Flag Awards. I now feel confident in providing good judgment when assessing any parks and gardens for this year’s awards, and will be able to work more closely with my client officer at Southwark Council to raise the standards for Green Flag.”
Kenny Peart, Quadron’s Senior Supervisor on the Southwark Council contract, added: “Receiving the Green Flag judges training will bring an added benefit to the teams and sites I look after in Southwark. Having judges working on site before our Green Flag inspections will enhance the way we look at the work we are doing at all the parks we maintain, not just those that are applying for the Green Flag. Ultimately, this will help us not only retain our existing 23 Green Flags, but push us on for more in the future.”
Congratulations to the newly-qualified Green Flag judges!
Quadron was delighted to welcome managers from Burleigh Springs Leisure and Therapy Centre to the Outwoods as part of Loughborough University’s Student Union Action day.
The volunteers were all very keen to swap their indoor gym for an outdoor ‘Green Gym’ for the day and to get stuck in with some conservation work in the ancient woodlands.
Following a safety briefing and tool talk, given by Quadron Head Ranger, Ciaran Fern, the volunteers got straight to work thinning an area of over-crowded birch trees in one of the wood’s compartments.
The thinning of trees is an important part of woodland management as it removes unhealthy, unmarketable, defective, and overcrowded trees growing too closely together. This not only allows remaining healthy trees greater access to the nutrients they need to grow stronger and healthier, but also creates more light, which often stimulates the growth of more grasses, wildflowers and native shrubs. This in turn provides a better habitat for woodland animals, who benefit form the increased number of native plants growing in the undergrowth with additional sources of food and shelter.
The team from Burleigh Springs Leisure and Therapy Centre worked really hard, stopping only for some welcome bacon and sausage baps.
Andy Shelton, Leisure Manager, said: "We all had a fab time tree felling whilst pretending to be woodsmen".
Nicola Clarke, Quadron's Midlands Horticultural Development Manager, added: "The team did a terrific job and Quadron look forward to welcoming them again in the near future."
After the establishment of a successful partnership between Quadron Services and Croydon Community Rehabilitation Company at Grangewood Park (now in its 40th week), which has seen teams tackle unsightly perimeter vegetation around the park, Quadron and the CRC were pleased to work together once again at Croydon’s Millers Pond.
Quadron and its client, Croydon Council, are pleased to announce that a new supervised team from the Croydon CRC has been established to support the great work of the Friends of Millers Pond as, in a partnership between client, community and contractor, we prepare to enter the site for Green Flag Awards 2016/17.
On 22nd December 2015 the Croydon Council client, the Friends of Millers Pond and Quadron were joined by Louis Bell, Croydon CRC Supervisor, for a site walk about in order to prepared a Task Plan for key added value tasks that were appropriate for the CRC team to tackle, with support from Quadron.
After a positive meeting on site, the Quadron team prepared a task plan for the various projects on site, looking at timings of tasks, as well as the tools and materials that would be required to complete these tasks.
It was great then to hear from Louis in the New Year that he had a team, led by Supervisor, Ben Dudoo, ready to start the first Tasking day on Monday 18th January at Millers Pond.
Quadron’s Green Spaces Coordinator, Owen Giddings, and Supervisor, Simon Feeney, arranged for the necessary tools, brew kit and sundries needed for Probation Team to start the task.
On Monday 18th January the CRC Team was joined by Croydon Community Partnership Manager, Meike Weiser, and Quadron Development Manager, Andrew Kauffman, to start the supervised team off with the initial clearance tasks.
The candidates were provided with PPE and walked through the task by the CRC Supervisor and the Croydon client before making a s start on the tasks at hand. These included perimeter cut backs around the pond and edging works around the paths and benches.
The team worked extremely hard and achieved all the tasks required of them by the end of the day.
Louis Bell Croydon CRC Manager said: “It is a pleasure having the Community Payback team working alongside Quadron Services and members of the local community (Friends of Millers Pond) in Croydon. This is what Community Payback is about: Service Users paying back in the local community they transgressed against. “The tasks are tough, well organised, and visible to the general public. In some cases, Community Payback is a better and more cost effective punishment than incarceration. I look forward in supporting and working alongside the Quadron Team, as well as other local Community groups and projects in Croydon.”
Owen Giddings, Quadron Croydon Green Spaces Coordinator, said: “With the great work achieved at Grangewoods with the Community Payback Team, we looked forward to another co-ordinated effort to enhance the Millers Pond site.
“The Community Payback Team commenced works on 18th January and each week we have witnessed the good work and commitment that is being achieved. The team, alongside Quadron staff, the Friends of Millers Pond and Croydon Council officers all contributed to the plan to raise the standard of Millers Pond in support of its entry into the 2016 Green Flag Awards. The Quadron Croydon team will continue to support them in any way we can.”
Andrew Kauffman Quadron Horticultural Development Manager said: “Quadron Services would like to thank Louis and the Croydon CRC Team for the professional service that they provide, supporting targeted projects in Croydon Parks, adding value and making an incredible impact on the quality of local parks to park users, friends of park and local interest groups. We look forward to developing this relationship further in 2016.”
A team of multi-national volunteers from the World Peace Corp spent three days in Dulwich Park in December 2015, helping to construct a new pathway.
The volunteers hailed from all around the world, including Vietnam, South Korea, France, Germany, China and Slovakia, but this didn’t stop them from working together as a team to help create the pathway beside the dog walk area.
Under the leadership of Quadron Parks Supervisor, Mered Jones, the volunteers recycled old fence posts to edge the path, securing them with wooden stakes.
Over the course of the three days, the team completed 70 metres of pathway.
Quadron Supervisor, Meded Jones, commented: “The World Peace Corp volunteers did an excellent job of constructing the path. The work was vital to the park and conservation area as the pathway was often flooded. The new edging will help prevent water ingress to the path and it will shortly be mulched with leaves to prevent it becoming waterlogged.
“Many thanks to all the volunteers—it was great to everyone still smiling at the end of the three days of hard work!”
Get Set UK is an employability provider that seeks to place unemployed candidates into work placement positions so that they can gain the skills that will help them secure sustainable employment and move away from dependence on benefits.
Quadron began working with Get Set UK in October 2015 when the company agreed to offer a range of horticultural and sports related work-place volunteer opportunities to Get Set candidates. Following on from a successful initial programme in October-November 2015, Quadron was pleased to welcome a second group of Get Set UK candidates to the Wandsworth contract in January 2016 to help with horticultural tasks in the Borough’s parks.
Before commencing their tasks in Wandsworth Common, the six-man team received induction and manual handling training from Quadron’s Wandsworth Contract Manager and Lantra-accredited trainer, Garry Bishop.
Garry Bishop said “As the contract trainer, it was a pleasure to give the team from Get Set a helping hand in their quest to get back into full time work.”
After successfully completing their induction and training the team commenced work at Wandsworth Common, tackling the basal and epicormic growth on some of the park’s trees, to prevent them encroaching on footpaths.
The team wasted no time in getting stuck into the task, and were soon working well together as a team to trim the growth and collect the arisings tidily, before helping to load them into the Quadron truck for disposal.
Wandsworth Parks Client (Enable’s) Andrew Green visited the site to view progress and said: “The Parks service team from Enable Leisure & Culture would like to say a big thank you to all the Get Set UK operatives who’ve undertaken basal and epicormic growth removal to Wandsworth Common trees. All works that have been carried out so far have been done to a high standard and this has very much smartened up the area. We look forward to continuing this partnership with Quadron and Get Set UK.”
Shaun Simpson Get Set UK Candidate said:“It has been great to work with the Quadron teams in flagship parks like Wandsworth Common and Battersea Park. The sense of achievement when you stand back and look at the works the team and I have achieved, and the comments from park users, makes the experience worthwhile.”
Simon Jones, Quadron's Wandsworth Contract Manager, said: “As a contract we are so pleased to be involved in such a worthwhile project with such a rewarding outcome for the volunteers and the community; the visual effect to the commons can be instantly recognised and appreciated.”
On Thursday, 17th December 2015, Quadron Services Ltd was delighted to welcome seven members of the World Peace Corps Volunteers to Southwark’s One Tree Hill local nature reserve.
The day was one of four volunteer events with the group in 2015, the second successive year that Quadron has had the pleasure of working with the organisation.
Partnering with Quadron’s Southwark Council Client, the event was led by Southwark’s Ecology Officer, Jon Best, assisted by Quadron’s Horticultural Development Manager, Andrew Robinson.
One Tree Hill is an historic site in the southern-most corner of the borough. The site enjoys spectacular views over London and has a high conservation value.
The task for the day was to clear two areas (pictured right) of invasive bramble and other weeds that were encroaching onto footpaths. As well as improving sight lines, the task also served to clear the woodland understory of these species, allowing other plants to thrive and so create a greater diversity of habitat.
The group was fortunate to have use of St. Augustine’s Church as their base for the day, which is situated in the middle of the site. Thanks are extended to the Church for making this facility available and, in particular, to Mike the Church Warden, who made the volunteers feel so welcome.
The day commenced with a site tour to see the magnificent views over London, before the volunteers were provided with a Health and Safety Briefing, Toolbox Talk on safe use of hand tools, and issued with appropriate Personal Protective Equipment.
The volunteers then split into two groups, each focussing on one of the two areas to be cleared. Working in pairs, the teams soon began clearing the vegetation; one person raking the bramble to hold it out of the way, while the other cut it at the base. Where possible, roots were then dug out to prevent regrowth.
Lunch was taken in the Church Hall, with Mike kindly telling the volunteers about the history of the site and the church. This was rounded off with festive mince pies!
It was then back to work in the afternoon to complete the designated section of clearance. As the day progressed, the two assigned areas were really transformed thanks to all the volunteers’ hard work. All green waste and arisings were then raked into piles and the team was joined by Keith Milton, Mobile Team Leader from Quadron, to assist with removing the waste to be taken for recycling.
Keith commented that “A great job has been done by the volunteers in opening up the sight lines at One Tree Hill. This is a time-consuming job that we would rarely have time for. Now, in its low-maintenance state, we can easily keep the area clear going forward. A massive thanks for all your hard work and efforts.”
Quadron Horticultural Development Manager, Andrew Robinson said: “The Peace Corps Volunteers did a tremendous job of clearing invasive species from two areas of the One Tree Hill site. This was part of a pan-Southwark volunteer programme organised with the group and has really helped the maintenance team in getting the areas to a state where ongoing weed-control will be less resource-intensive.
“It will be fantastic to see the diverse range of native species that already exist within the seed bed have the opportunity to flourish now that light and soil conditions have been improved.
“A massive thank you should also be extended to St. Augustine’s Church for letting us use their facilities. A great partnership all round with the Southwark client!”
Southwark Council’s Ecology Officer, Jon Best, added: “The group were fantastic. They worked really hard and achieved a great deal of bramble clearance. This will make a real difference to the area. They also enjoyed the day, so well done to them and thanks for volunteering”.
Well done, team!
The weekend of 31st October and 1st November 2015 saw Devon and Cornwall Probation Services teams return to Affinity Sutton housing association's Bradninch site.
Following a previous successful project to clear invasive weeds from a steep bank adjacent to the housing development, the team set about the installation of a retaining boundary to prevent subsidence of the bank side on to the adjacent footpath.
The probation team met with Quadron contract staff early on the Saturday morning to receive materials for the project and have a site briefing. The plan was to use slotted concrete posts set into the ground adjoining the footpath and install timber boards to act as a retainer.
Following delivery of the materials and a health and safety introduction, teams set about marking out the ground and carrying materials into place.
Next, the digging of the post holes began in earnest. Once the first hole was dug, the first of the concrete posts was installed and fixed with post-crete. Moving along the length of the path, the next hole was dug at the point to accommodate the predetermined length of the timber boards.
The team also had to factor in the slope of the footpath, ensuring posts were fitted vertically in order for the timber boards to fit securely into the slots of the concrete posts. Whilst progress had to be made with care, a system was quickly established. Stopping only briefly for refreshments, good progress was made on the first day of the project.
The team arrived on day two full of determination to complete the task. Following on from the process established the previous day, the team soon continued the good work. As the day drew on, the end was in sight and a final push saw the team complete the task.
Over the course of the two days, in excess of 60 linear metres of retaining wall had been constructed, covering the length of the entire footpath at the bottom of the bank.
Pippa Gregory, Neighbourhood Investment Officer for Affinity Sutton Housing, said: "We have been delighted with the partnership working with Quadron to support us to make improvements in and around our estates. The work at Bradninch has been on-going for some time, and the on-going support from the Community Payback team and Quadron will mean that residents will see the maintenance of this difficult space continue."
Andrew Robinson, Quadron Horticultural Development Manager, said: "What a great result! The probation team really has excelled in delivering a terrific project that makes a real difference to local residents. Well done to all involved."
Quadron Services has been delighted to work with its client, The Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames, to prepare consultation documents to progress the implementation of the client's innovative new Green Spaces Strategy 2015-2021.
The vision that drives the new strategy is to provide good quality, accessible and attractive green spaces that bring major benefits for health and wellbeing to Kingston's residents and visitors. The strategy aims to provide a framework for success by delivering ten key themes:
The new strategy sees Kingston Council and its partners taking a new and innovative approach to parks and open space management. Rather than a green space trying to fulfil a number of competing functions, the approach will be to target the innate strength of a space, accentuate the spaces positive aspects through appropriately targeted resources, and make it a destination of choice for a particular activity. The strength may be for a particular activity such as football, or horticultural displays, tennis, or simply a good space for personal recreation.
To assist the process, a Green Spaces Steering Group was set up, made up of residents from each of the four Kingston neighbourhoods, as well as key park and conservation partners who have all been actively involved in the decision making process around the function of specific parks and their future maintenance prescription.
The Green Spaces Strategy Delivery team, comprised of members of Kingston's Green Spaces team and Quadron Services has been actively working with the steering group to discuss the practical implementation of the new strategy. Site audits have also been carried out in Kingstons parks to identify their potential primary functions.
On Tuesday 8th December 2015, Quadron was pleased to present the current findings, developed with the Client and Green Spaces Steering Group, to Members and Community Partners at Kingston Town Hall's Queen Anne Suite. Feedback was extremely positive:
Cllr Terry Paton, the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames' Portfolio HolderResident Services: "It was very interesting to meet members of the steering group at the workshop. In these challenging times we all need to work together for Kingstons green spaces. Id like to thank the steering group and Quadron for the work they have completed so far, and I look forward to meeting more interested people at the next round of workshops in the New Year."
Marie-Claire Edwards, Kingston's Service Manager for Green Spaces, Carbon Reduction and Sustainability: "I'd like to thank everyone that has put in so much time and effort to get us to this point, we have not done such a comprehensive piece of work on the parks for some time and its great that its been driven by residents."
Mark Garthwaite, Quadron Senior Contract Manager (Kingston): "Being both a Kingston resident and the Contract Manager for Quadron at Kingston gives me a unique outlook on the Borough's parks and open spaces, positively seeing at first-hand how our strategic thoughts on change can, and have, impacted on the Borough.
"Quadron has worked in partnership with the Royal Borough for ten years now and it has been hugely positive that this partnership model has been strengthened even further during this process, with the Borough's Green Spaces team fully consulting with our contract and operational teams prior to embarking on this Green Spaces Strategy implementation."
Preeti Chatwal-Kauffman, Quadron Services' Development Manager: "In these challenging times for council budgets across the country it has been very exciting to work with clients at the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames on this innovative Strategy and to meet this challenge head on. Working with the client, Quadron contract team, and the wider community in Kingston, I feel confident that, working together, we have come up with a potential way forward that meets the key aim the Strategy seeks to address.
"I look forward to taking the presentation to the Neighbourhood Roadshows, which will be held in each of Kingston's key neighbourhoods between the 11th and 14th January. We look forward to continuing to support Kingston Council and ensuring local residents and stakeholder groups continue to be involved in developing this exciting new strategy for the Borough's green spaces."
To learn more about Kingston Council's Green Spaces Strategy, please see the Kingston Council Website.
On Decemeber 8th, a team of employees from the Just Retirement Group in Reigate lent a hand with essential woodland management work in Happy Valley, Croydon.
The event was an Employee Action Day, jointly organised between Croydon TCV, Quadron Services and Just Retirement.
The day involved cutting back the brambles in the ancient woodland coppice areas to allow bluebells and other woodland wild flowers to flourish, and to promote the growth of previously planted trees, which were in danger of being shaded out by the bramble.
Dominic North, Quadron’s countryside warden for Happy Valley, said:
"The day was a resounding success. Everyone worked incredibly hard and achieved great results. Corporate volunteering days like this are an excellent way for companies to support their local communities, help the environment and promote wellbeing and teambuilding among their employees.
We hope that this will be the first of many Employee Action Days with Just Retirement, and are currently planning a programme of monthly events with the company for the whole of 2016".
Kent, Surrey and Sussex Community Rehabilitation Company (KSS CRC) has continued to provide excellent partnership services with Quadron Kingston to deliver additional value-added projects within the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames.
Following a successful project to re-establish bedding areas in Surbiton’s Fishponds Park, the KSS CRC team moved on to tackle mature shrub beds within the grounds of Kingston’s Kingfisher Leisure Centre.
Working one day per week throughout November, the team was tasked with opening up areas and re-establishing sight-lines around the entrance to the leisure centre. The team also thinned and pruned adjacent shrub beds and low-hanging tree branches as part of the project.
Quadron ensured that all necessary risk assessments had been conducted, as well as providing welfare facilities.
The KSS CRC team worked diligently around the area, ensuring that any disruption to users visiting the leisure centre was kept to a minimum. The team made sure all green waste was cleared efficiently into the trailer that Quadron provided, so that it could be recycled and used as mulch around the Borough.
Kingfisher Leisure Centre entrance before
Following an additional request from the leisure centre management team, the KSS CRC team also cut vegetation from a fence-line to the side of the building entrance.
Feedback from the leisure centre was very positive, with Rob Waite from the Royal Borough of Kingston Council commenting, “With increasing pressure on budgets for maintaining green spaces, the work carried out in partnership with the KSS CRC team has added great value in Kingston, allowing our maintenance teams to focus on their core contractual responsibility, whilst still delivering projects that may otherwise have been put on the back burner.”
Andrew Robinson, Quadron Horticultural Development Manager, said, “It’s always a pleasure to have the KSS CRC team on-site. Their work rate and supervision is excellent and they make a real difference in completing projects above and beyond core grounds maintenance.”
Mike Palmer, Project Co-ordinator for KSS CRC, added: “For my part, it’s very rewarding working in partnership with an organisation that understands our expectations for Community Payback and that of its service users. The work has been both rewarding and worthwhile and we thank you for your commitment to this project. Long may it continue.”
Kingfisher Leisure Centre entrance after
The team has since returned to Kingston’s Fishponds Park for a short period to clear vegetation from the banks of a stream running through the park, prior to commencing a new project at another Kingston site.
The Quadron team joined clients at Affinity Sutton for the ‘Designing Barne Barton’ Event on Saturday 28th November.
The event was held to raise awareness with residents about Affinity Sutton's plans for the future of the estate. Residents were invited to provide feedback about the concept drawings and process, and the Quadron team was on hand to ensure that events were laid on for the children attending. as part of the Park Environmental Improvement at Savage Road, which included planting bulbs and sowing seeds.
The day was a great success, and at the end of the planting session, the children, with help from their familes, and the Quadron team, had planted over 1,000 bulbs and sown 200 square metres of seed!
Affinity Sutton's Neighbourhood Investment Employment and Support Officer said: "Despite the extremely inclement weather, children and parents got stuck in with the team from Quadron to plant spring bulbs and sow wildflower mix along the bank in the park at Savage Road. The community planting event marked the final touches to the environmental improvements in the park to increase accessibility and visibility of the space.
"We have been really please that Quadron was able to provide staff, tools, bulbs and seed to support the event, and for arranging for Plymouth Probabtion Team to prepare the bank prior to plantingon the day."
Quadron's Corporate Development Manager, Andrew Kauffman, added: "Another great team effort with Affinity Sutton. The relationship with client, Resident Involvement Team and Plymouth and Exeter Probation Services is going from strength to strength, with the evidence clearly visible across Affinity Sutton's estates.
"As always, it was a pleasure to work with Quadron's Supervisor for the Affinity Sutton contract, James Andrews - keep up the great work being done on contract!"
Quadron’s Southwark contract was delighted to welcome a six-strong team from Ingeus’ Commercial team to Burgess Park on 27th November, 2015.
Ingeus is a leading provider of people-centred services, such as employability programmes, skills training and health-related support and their team willingly gave their time to support an important access to nature project within the Albany Road Copse nature area.
The Albany Road Copse is one of several small woodland copses within Southwark’s Burgess Park that requires ongoing maintenance and development to ensure its long-term ecological value. Forming part of a broader scheme that is being overseen by the London Wildlife Trust, the conservation tasks undertaken by Ingeus’ volunteers supported their company’s community volunteering scheme perfectly.
The day commenced with an introduction to the park and the specific task to be performed. This included clearance of scrub to encourage understory development, as well as formalising some of the ‘desire line’ footpaths that have emerged throughout the copse, in order to encourage safe access for park users. The introduction was followed by a health and safety briefing, issuing of Personal Protective Equipment and a ‘tool box talk’ on safe use of hand-tools.
The team of six, along with two of Quadron’s volunteer managers, Andy Robinson and Lynn Murray, then made their way to the work area where the hard work began in earnest. Spreading themselves along one of the informal footpaths, the volunteers quickly got into their stride, cutting back invasive species such as bramble, ivy and nettle from the ground, as well as undertaking pruning of low-hanging branches from some of the surrounding trees.
As the area around the path started to clear, the team then began using some of their cut green waste, along with other branches found on the woodland floor, to create informal edging to the path. As the morning session drew to a close the volunteers’ efforts were already becoming apparent.
After a short but much needed lunch break at the Park Life Café within the park, the Ingeus team soon got back to work in the afternoon, keen to complete their section of footpath. As half the team began barrowing recycled woodchip onto the footpath, the other half quickly completed the cutting back and edging. It was then all hands on to complete the barrowing and raking out of the woodchip to complete the path surface.
As the day drew to a close and with the light fading, the satisfied team took the opportunity to reflect on their sterling efforts. In total, a section of approximately 100 metres of copse had been cleared of its invasive ground cover and a new footpath constructed along its length.
Angela Elliker, from Ingeus’ Commercial team, said: “Andy and Lynne were delighted with the results; the footpaths were immediately put to the test by several dogs running along the route, they seemed to enjoy it at least! We all agreed at the end of the day it was a real treat to spend the day outdoors, being accompanied by the likes of squirrels, robins, Egyptian geese and parakeets, knowing we were making a difference to the local community and doing our bit for biodiversity.”
Andy Robinson, Quadron Horticultural Development Manager, said: “It’s always a pleasure to deliver another successful volunteering project within Southwark. The team from Ingeus worked particularly well and for a team of six people completed a sizeable task for which they should be really proud! Let’s hope it’s the start of another successful relationship.”
Lynn Murray, Quadron Gardener at Burgess Park, added: "I had a great day with the group from Ingeus! Everyone worked really hard which resulted in a very successful day. I also enjoyed putting my conservation and volunteer training into practice and look forward to the next project!”
Terry Burns, Quadron Senior Contract Manager, commented: “I wanted to say a huge thank you to the volunteers from Ingeus, what an outstanding job you all did in Burgess Park. They all responded well to the Quadron volunteer leaders and interacted well with them to get the desired task complete on the day.”
Get Set is an employability provider that seeks to place unemployed customers onto work placement opportunities, so that they can gain the skills that will help them to secure sustainable employment and therefore move away from dependence on benefits.
Get Set has achieved an outstanding record, having placed over 2,000 unemployed people in sustainable work since the company’s establishment in 2009.
Working with Get Set UK’s personal advisor in early October, Quadron’s Development and Operations Teams discussed a range of Horticultural and Sport related work-place volunteer opportunities that Quadron Services’ Wandsworth contract could offer Get Set UK’s candidates to gain practical work place experience as they look to get unemployed candidates work-ready.
On Monday 19th October 2015, six candidates interested in the opportunity, accompanied by Get Set UK’s candidate adviser, arrived at Battersea Park Bowls Club for a company induction.
Quadron Wandsworth’s Lantra-accredited trainer, Garry Bishop, was on hand to provide candidates with a full Quadron Induction, as well as Manual Handling Training.
After lunch, the candidates were provided with PPE including safety boots, gloves and hi-vis vests, and it was then into the park for a tool talk with Quadron Development Team’s Andrew Robinson, who ran through the task plan for the day and gave a tool demonstration.
The teams then started work in Battersea Park Compartment 823 to carry out 95% reductions to mature shrubs in the bed to hone the skills learnt earlier in the day. The teams cut and bagged all the arisings before the end of the working day, when the teams were then able to show the Get Set advisor what they achieved on day one of their work place volunteering opportunity.
Following on from the successful induction day, the Get Set UK candidates continued with their placement at Battersea Park for the remainder of the week. Tasks included further cut-backs and shrub reductions in additional areas, before moving on to a new area to learn new skills. These included edging up bedding areas, weeding flower beds and footpaths and, finally, planting bedding plants into formal flower beds. The team experienced a variety of horticultural tasks and gained a real sense of ownership of the areas that they had been working in.
Following a successful first week induction, Mohamed Awale, Get Set UK Senior Personal Advisor said: “Get Set is very excited to be working in partnership with Quadron Services Wandsworth. Quadron Services is enabling long term unemployed candidates to gain meaningful work placements where they are supported to gain practical vocational skills, while at the same time experiencing a real life work environment. We look forward to seeing the new recruits progress through their placement and the positive impact this initiative will have for all of them.”
Paul Bedford, Acting Supervisor at Battersea Park commented that “the tasks given to the team by members of the QSL management team, which included leaf clearance, lawn edging, shrub clearance and setting out and planting winter bedding schemes have been completed to an excellent standard and the work areas left clean and tidy at the end of the day. Thank you to all the staff for their hard work this week.”
The Get Set UK candidates continued their programme with Quadron, moving to a different location during weeks two and three of the scheme.
This time the team was located at Wandsworth Park to remove epicormic growth from trees around the park. This was a task that had been identified as a project in conjunction with the Friends of Wandsworth Park.
Following an introduction to the task and a practical demonstration, the Get Set team set about removing the unwanted growth from the base of trees within the park. Working systematically through the park, the team paid great attention to detail.
Support was provided by Quadron Wandsworth staff in terms of supervision and removal of green waste at the end of each day. Progress was also noted very positively by members of the public visiting the park, as the task helped to open up sight lines and restore the formal tree lined avenues and vistas towards the River Thames.
Upon completion of the task, Pat Gross, Chair of the Friends of Wandsworth Park said: “Get Set UK did a really terrific and professional job removing the epicormic growth throughout our park. Their commitment was clear and they were diligent and conscientious about their work product. It looks terrific and now we have our lovely park back to how it should look! Thank you from all of us who use Wandsworth Park. We are most grateful.”
Andrew Kauffman, Quadron Corporate Development Manager said: “It has been a pleasure to work with Get Set UK to establish practical workplace opportunities for their candidates in Quadron Services’ Wandsworth contract.
“The real life work opportunities offered to candidates prepares them for the world of full time employment and understanding employers' expectations. The training Quadron provides to candidates as part of the scheme allows Quadron to assess candidates’ abilities and look for opportunities to place Get Set UK candidates into jobs with Quadron Services or other allied industries locally.”
Following their induction period, the Get Set UK placement candidates are now fully prepared to integrate with the Quadron Wandsworth teams to further their experience and training, with a view to seeking long-term paid employment.
‘Shizenfu’ is a traditional Japanese pruning philosophy, referring to a naturalistic style.
The working party was joined by Ian Fleming (Quadron Head Gardener, Holland Park) and his colleagues Marc and Daijiro, Quadron’s resident experts from nearby Holland Park’s Kyoto Gardens, to lead the sessions and provide training to all those in attendance.
Following introductions and health and safety briefings, the group split into three teams, each tackling one of the park's large prostrate conifers.
The teams began by focussing on plant health by removing any detritus trapped in and around the foliage. Next came the process of removing any dead wood. Armed with pruning saws, loppers and secateurs, the eager group soon made visible progress, with the structure of the trees becoming ever more apparent.
Following the lead from Marc and Daijiro, work then progressed to pruning to obtain the desired shape. This involved following the natural shapes of the main tree structure, as well as continuing to focus on tree health by pruning out any further dead wood and crossing limbs.
As the afternoon light began to fade, the volunteers’ efforts were clear to see in radical transformation of the conifers.
Andrew Robinson, Quadron's Horticultural Development Manager commented, “The transformation that took place throughout the course of the day was remarkable. Marc and Daijiro's enthusiasm was infectious and all the volunteers clearly enjoyed a rewarding day.
“It’s always a pleasure to work with volunteers from the Japanese Garden Society and the Friends of Hammersmith Park and we look forward to many more enjoyable days in the future.”
John Gordon-Smith, Chair of the Friends of Hammersmith Park said: “It was great to see volunteers from the Japanese Garden Society taking such an interest in our Japanese Garden and contributing their time to great effect in the pruning – a really enjoyable and productive day.”
Graham Bowyer from the Japanese Garden Society added: “The Japanese Garden Society volunteers thoroughly enjoyed the day. It was an excellent opportunity to work with your experts, to learn from them and to contribute to much needed pruning work in the park. We would be delighted to discuss arranging a similar working session in the future.”
Following a successful trial at Paragon Community Housing Association’s Hales Court, the team moved on to Fishponds Park in Kingston.
After a site risk assessment and provision of welfare facilities, the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Community Rehabilitation Company (KSS CRC) team has spent one day per week during October 2015 re-invigorating ‘The Dell’ area of Fishponds Park. This is a popular location, both for recreation by general park users, and education by local school groups.
Edging up conservation borders
Tasks completed have included perimeter cut-backs, thinning and shaping of shrub beds, weeding and digging over flower beds, and formative pruning of trees. The team was also able to use plants from this year’s RHS Hampton Court Re-use Scheme to bolster the planting in designated areas.
Perimeter cut backs
Feedback from the KSS CRC team has been excellent, commenting that the team is very positive about visiting Quadron’s sites and are able to take a real sense of ownership of the tasks in hand.
The good work and productivity has also been welcomed by the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames Council.
Shrub pruning and clearing invasive ground cover
Quadron’s Horticultural Development Manager noted, “It has been a pleasure to work with the Kent, Surrey and Sussex CRC team. Their work has been of excellent quality and really makes a difference. I look forward to continuing this partnership.”
Weeding and maintenance of flowerbeds
Since completing the project within the Dell at Fishponds Park, the KSS CRC team has moved on to tackle tasks to improve sight lines around the entrance to Kingston’s Kingfisher Leisure Centre. The partnership looks set to continue for the foreseeable future, which is excellent news for Kingston’s resident park and recreation facility users.
Quadron continues to support the Friends of Grange Park as the group continues its quest to raise funds to re-develop the play area at Grange Park in Old Coulsdon, Croydon.
Quadron recently contributed sponsorship funding towards an item of equipment for the new play area as the Friends seek to raise £50,000 of funding from the local community and businesses before they apply for an additional £50,000 from grant funding.
The group is now just £12,000 from its target and hopes that it will shortly be able to gain the additional grant funding required to deliver the exciting new play area, which will excite, stimulate and challenge all children including those with disabilities.
Quadron's Croydon Contract Manager, Tony Potter, said:
"It's great to work with such an energised and proactive group. The Croydon Quadron team looks forward to helping the Friends to secure and complete this great project."
Hannah Price-Harries from the Friends of Grange Park added:
"The Friends of Grange Park are most grateful for Quadron's continued support on this project and for your kind donation towards sponsorship of an item of equipment in the proposed new play area."
Further information on the play area and how to support the play area project through sponsorship or donation is can be found on the Friends of Grange Park's website.
The proposed design for the new play area:
Quadron Services’ Andrew Kauffman, Andrew Robinson, Ian Andrews and the Friends of Hammersmith Park were delighted to welcome members of the Nippon Club to Hammersmith Park on Sunday 11th October 2015.
The Nippon Club is an organisation based in London for expatriate Japanese businesspeople and their families. Membership is around 4,000 and the honorary chairman is the Japanese Ambassador.
Joined by members of the Japanese Garden Society, local dignitaries, and with a traditional ‘bento box’ lunch provided by the Nippon Club, this marked another fantastic volunteer event at this historic site.
Hammersmith Park is home to the oldest traditional Japanese Garden in a public space in Britain and dates from the Japan-British Exhibition at White City in 1910. Since 2010, Quadron and the Friends of Hammersmith Park have hosted an annual volunteering day in conjunction with the Nippon Club in order to carry out specific seasonal maintenance in the Japanese Garden. Activities included clearing weed and algae from the pond, formative pruning of trees and shrubs, weeding of the stream bank and cutting back bamboo. There was also an opportunity to plant three Prunus Tai Haku (Great White Cherry) and three Prunus Amanagowa (Lombardy Cherry).
Blessed with fine weather and a team of approximately 40 people, the teams split into groups to tackle each of the tasks allocated by the Quadron teams, including reducing shrubs around the perimeter of the pond, clearing weed from the pond and thinning the black bamboo.Equipped with appropriate personal protective equipment and fully briefed on safe use of their hand tools, the willing volunteers soon began making headway into their chosen tasks.
As the morning progressed, the results of the pruning and pond clearance were already starting to take shape. As lunch time drew near, the group re-convened to listen to updates on future plans for the park and words of thanks from John Gordon-Smith (Friends of Hammersmith Park), Cllr Mercy Umeh (Mayor of Hammersmith and Fulham), Minister Hideki Asari (Japanese Minister), Graham Bowyers (Japanese Garden Society), Ai Hishii (Team Fukuhara) and Cllr Wesley Harcourt (Cabinet Member for Environment, Transport & Residents Services). Cllr Umeh and Minister Hideki Asari then joined Ian Andrews from Quadron Services and Pauline McCormack from Hammersmith and Fulham Council to plant the first of the six new ornamental cherry trees.
The whole group were then able to relax and refuel with a delicious lunch, kindly provided by the Nippon Club. The volunteers were soon keen to return to work and set about finishing their morning clearance tasks and tidying up their green waste.
Over 20 tonne-bags of cleared vegetation were collected in total, with fantastic pruning work having been completed on the ornamental beds, bamboo screens, trees and shrubs. The entire pond was cleaned of surface weed and algae, and the stream banks were weed-free. The three Prunus Tai Haku and three Prunus Amangowa trees also stood proudly in their new home.
The volunteers clearly enjoyed their time, with the following remarks being made:
“This is quite different from my work and a good experience.”
“I never thought I would do gardening in London.”
“This is a good memory to take back to Japan.”
As the day drew to a close, all that was left to do was thank everyone involved for their amazing contributions.
Quadron Corporate Horticultural Development Manager, Andrew Kauffman, said: “Special thanks are extended to Takahito Goto, General Secretary of the Nippon Club, and Setsuo Kato for helping to organise a superb day and providing lunch for everyone. Representatives from all parties concerned were clearly delighted with the day’s results and the local volunteers should be rightly proud of their efforts to make this important garden a beautiful community feature.”
Setsuo Kato from Nippon Club said: “Thanks to team Quadron for again organising the volunteering activities and making it a wonderful day for our team at Hammersmith Park, long may this relationship continue at Hammersmith Park.”
On Thursday, 8th October 2015, a five-person team from Devon and Cornwall Probation Service joined teams from Quadron to undertake improvement works on Affinity Sutton’s Willeys Court and Greenford Villas housing developments in Exeter, Devon.
This was the second phase of an improvement plan that had been agreed between Quadron and Affinity Sutton in conjunction with the Probation Service, the first having been undertaken in August 2015. Phase 1 involved the clearance of large areas of weeds and shrubs from unused areas of land adjacent to the two housing developments.
Phase 2 of the project began with a briefing on the task in hand and health and safety matters from the Quadron team and Probation Team Leader. The initial work involved clearing any remaining weeds from the area, before laying a Mypex weed suppressant membrane. This involved laying the membrane in position, cutting it to size and, finally, pegging it into position.
Once the membrane was secure, a final surface dressing was applied using a thick layer of bark mulch that was shovelled into the area and then raked into place. The first area, at Willeys Court, was completed and met with immediate approval from local residents.
The team then shifted their efforts to the second area at Greenford Villas. This gave the team from Quadron’s Affinity Sutton contract the opportunity to collect a further van-load of bark mulch, while the rest of the team commenced the preparation work. As the remaining weeds were cleared and the layer of Mypex pegged into position, the van returned with the required mulch. This was spread thickly over the area and really smartened up the frontage to the building.
The work was completed in good time and the team was keen to undertake some additional value-added work. After a brief discussion with the local Quadron team, various areas of vegetation were identified around Greenford Villas that would benefit from some seasonal cutting back. These tasks involved removing ivy from a wall, trimming hedges around the car park and reducing other hedges and shrubs in line with wall heights.
Quadron Horticultural Development Manager, Andrew Robinson, said: "The finished results were met with great satisfaction from the Probation Service team, Quadron’s Affinity Sutton contract team and, most importantly, local residents. The project proved a great success and a real demonstration of a successful partnership between Affinity Sutton, Quadron and the Probation Service. Well done to all involved."
Affinity Sutton Resident Green Inspector Anthony Purcell said: "It has been great to see the transformation on estates at Willeys Court and Greenford Villas over the past month. Staff from Quadron and the Probation Services have done a great job and we look forward to continuing to work with teams to transform the estates green spaces which are so important to residents."
Wednesday 1st October 2015 saw Quadron volunteer leaders welcome a 25-strong team from Debenhams e-commerce department to Holland Park in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.
The team spent a hugely productive afternoon working on the Forest School nature trail in the park’s ecology area as a part of a team building ‘away day’.
The volunteers arrived in Holland Park after a series of company presentations and a good lunch! All the members of the team were eager to get started, but took time to listen to the health and safety talk and observe the safe use of hand tools demonstration from the Quadron team before getting to work.
With the help of the Quadron volunteer leaders, the Debenhams team, began to tackle two stretches of the Forest School path. The first task was to undertake some running repairs to a previous section of footpath, which included replacing log edging and topping up the path’s surface with fresh woodchip.
The second task was to install a new section of footpath. This involved laying mypex fabric to the base of the footpath, laying log edging, holding this in place with wooden pegs and, finally, surface dressing the footpath with woodchip.
The volunteers divided themselves into smaller groups so that each element of the task could be worked on simultaneously. The team members rotated their tasks so that everyone had the opportunity to experience each element. With everyone quickly getting to grips with the work, the new section of footpath soon took shape.
After a quick refreshment break and some team photographs, everyone pushed on to complete as much of the new footpath as possible. By the end of the day the tired, but satisfied team were rightly proud of their efforts, having completed an amazing 156 linear metres of new footpath! The team also showed their creative streak and found the time to complete a small seating area made from logs, with a dead-hedge surround.
Quadron Horticultural Development Manager, Andy Robinson, who led the volunteering session, said: “The Debenhams team’s commitment and teamwork was plain to see and their efforts have made a tremendous contribution to this important educational resource, which is used by thousands of children, providing them with access to nature within London.
“A massive thank you and well done is extended to all the Debenhams volunteers!”
Following the re-award of housing association, Affinity Sutton’s grounds maintenance contracts for the Plymouth and Exeter areas to Quadron Services earlier this year, Quadron visited Affinity Sutton’s Exeter housing estates with the client in July. Following site assessments and discussions with the client and residents, it was agreed to carry out a Community Action Day in partnership with Affinity Sutton at Exeter’s Willeys Court and Greenford Villas on Saturday 15th August.
As many hands were needed on this community project, Quadron’s Corporate Development Manager, Andrew Kauffman, who has an established working relationship with the Devon and Cornwall Community Rehabilitation Company, seconded a five-strong supervised team from Exeter Probation Team to assist.
The team joined Quadron Contract Manager, Mark Dawes, and James, Quadron’s Supervisor for the Affinity Sutton Contract, as well as staff from Affinity Sutton’s Neighbourhood Team and local residents, who toiled from 10am – 3pm tackling diseased shrub removals, shrub reductions, removing ivy from wall lines and weeding hard standing areas.
By the end of the day, many overgrown shrubs had been reduced or cleared, leaving areas ready for new planting later in the year.
Affinity Sutton Client Manager, Pippa Gregory, commented: “A massive thank you to Quadron and the team who attended on Saturday from Exeter Community Rehabilitation Company.
“They worked really hard all day, and the results were clear to all. It couldn’t have been done without them, and everyone’s input was very much appreciated. We were all very impressed and grateful for their efforts. The project has really helped cement the working relationship between Affinity Sutton, Quadron and the probation team, and we are looking forward to continuing that moving forward.”
Andrew Kauffman: Corporate Development Manager said: “It is great to see what can be achieved when Client, Contractor and the wider community work together for a common goal to improve our communal green spaces. The sense of achievement at the end of the day was great and Quadron look forward to continuing this momentum, after the faith shown to Quadron by clients and residents of Affinity Sutton through the recent extension of the contract.”
After the success of the event, Quadron and Affinity Sutton are planning a further event with residents and the Devon and Cornwall Rehabilitation Company to treat, mypex and mulch cleared beds ready for replanting later in the year.
Teams from Quadron were delighted to welcome volunteers from American Express to Southwark’s Burgess Park on Wednesday, 16th September 2015.
Organised through Hands on London, nine willing Amex staff members kindly gave their time to commence work on an important new initiative in the New Church Road nature area.
With Quadron’s Southwark Council client having earmarked this area for a major new development in the coming months and years, this was the starting point for an exciting new project. The nature area forms part of a £3 million scheme to revitalise the south-western corner of the park, specifically addressing the need to ensure the long-term ecological value of the area can be sustained in a manner that is safe and sustainable for park users. These works are being undertaken in conjunction with input and direction from the London Wildlife Trust.
The day commenced with an introduction to Burgess Park and an explanation of the task at hand – namely clearance of a scrub area bordering the woodland nature area. A health and safety briefing was delivered by Quadron’s volunteer supervisor, followed by a practical demonstration of safe working practices for the tools to be used. The clearance work then began in earnest!
Splitting into three small teams, the Amex staff soon got to grips with the task and quickly made inroads into a large swathe of the scrub. As the rain began to fall, the volunteers’ enthusiasm was far from dampened. Efforts were re-doubled as the wet weather intensified, with everyone eager to complete the assigned section of clearance.
By early afternoon the three teams joined forces to complete the final section, and the results were plain to see. In total an area of approximately 250 square metres was cleared of the unwanted scrub, improving ground conditions and improving important sight lines into the area.The American Express volunteers were clearly delighted with their achievements, with many expressing their views as to how the organisation and context given to the task had really enhanced their experience. The Southwark Council client was equally pleased with how productive the day had been, with Louise Wilcox, Director at Burgess Park, commenting: “Well done and many thanks to all for the great work today.”
Jon Meech, CEO of volunteer broker organisation, Hands on London, commented, “Thank you so much for today. Once again, you have surpassed yourselves and given our volunteers at American Express a most wonderful day, despite the weather! They loved hearing the reasons why they were undertaking the task and how it fitted into the bigger picture for the park. The time you spent explaining about clearing, conservation and history of the area was really valued. Most importantly, they felt that they had really achieved something and had made a valuable contribution. They all would like to come back again, rain or no rain!”
Quadron’s Horticultural Manager, Andy Robinson, added: “A massive thank you all round to those involved in delivering another superb volunteer day at Southwark’s Burgess Park.”
The regional In Bloom awards are part of the wider RHS Britain in Bloom competition. Over 1,600 communities take part in the regional campaigns, and are assessed for their efforts in the areas of horticultural achievement, community participation and environmental responsibility. Those that do well at this level may be selected to take part in the RHS Britain in Bloom finals.
Quadron is pleased to be able to support its clients and local stakeholder groups in these annual community awards in a range of ways, including sponsorship, plant donations and providing horticultural advice.
Awards received by Quadron's clients this year include
Commenting on this year's success, Quadron's Managing Director, Clive Ivil, said:
"Quadron is an enthusiastic supporter of the In Bloom awards, and we are pleased to see our clients' continued success in this year's regional competitions. Our contract teams work closely with many of the community groups involved with the In Bloom preparations and it is always rewarding to see the enthusiasm and hard work that goes into the preparations for judging, and the sense of achievement when the results are revealed.
"This year's results are well-deserved and testament to the dedication of Britain's communities in keeping their areas blooming."
As part of a three day festival of music and family events in Hampton, a Fun Day was arranged at Fulmer Close on Hampton Common, featuring music, dance and children’s activities on Saturday 11th July.
As part of Quadron’s commitment to support its client, Paragon Community Housing Group, and the Fulmer Close Resident Association, a pot decorating workshop was arranged by Quadron’s creative team of Andrew Kauffman, Preeti Chatwal, Tony Collins and Dan Dobrotka.
The Quadron team brought along a selection of terracotta pots and lots of coloured modelling clays and child-friendly paints that the children and their families could use to decorate their pots.
Once decorated, the participants had the opportunity to have their pot filled with an equally colourful plant to take home with them.
Everyone had a great time decorating their pots, with the Deputy Mayor of the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, Councillor Jean Loveland, stopping by the workshop, along with Paragon Housing’s Resident Involvement Manager, Simon Martin.
Preeti Chatwal, Quadron’s Resident Involvement Manager, commented: “We are really grateful to Dave Hobbs, Chair of Fulmer Close Residents Association and the Paragon Residents’ Council, and Simon Martin, Paragon’s Resident Involvement Manager, for inviting us to the Fulmer Close Big Gig event.
“Thanks also to Quadron’s Rob Carver, Tony Collins, Dan Dobrotka and Andrew Kauffman for the joint working and for making this a successful Quadron community event! We had participants of all ages who enjoyed decorating pots, planting them and taking their creativity back home, and it wouldn’t have been so successful without everyone’s support.”
An enthusiastic team of corporate volunteers from Burberry UK visited Nunhead Cemetery on 22nd July to install hedging that was donated from this year’s Hampton Court Flower Show under the RHS Re-use scheme 2015.
Colleagues from Burberry spent three hectic days helping the Quadron team break down and collect materials from the show gardens in the days after the Hampton Court show. When the opportunity arose for another corporate volunteering day it seemed a perfect opportunity to welcome the Burberry team back to help put some of the materials donated to good use.
The plants donated to Nunhead Cemetery included 12 linear metres of established hawthorn hedge, in one metre segments. This ‘instant hedge’ was ideal for blocking an unofficial path that was being used in the cemetery. In addition to planting the hedge, the Burberry volunteers would create a dead hedge in an attempt to prevent the public creating desire lines through the grass.
When the Burberry team arrived at the cemetery, Quadron Team Leader, Andrew Robinson, began the day by explaining the health and safety implications of the site and the work to be conducted, the tools to be used, and a description of the sites’ history. Once the induction was completed, the volunteers were split into two groups – one to work on the living hedge and the other to construct the dead hedge.
Led by Quadron Gardener, Paul Sims, the dead hedging team were soon hard at work stripping the tree limbs of smaller branches and leaves. When all the hedging material was ready it was time to install the posts to hold the hedge together. This was a challenging task as the ground was so hard and the post driver quite heavy, but with Paul’s help the team soon had the job done.
With all the preparation work completed, it was time to begin the jigsaw puzzle of installing the prepared limbs to form the hedge. This was no easy task as the limbs do not always fit where you would like them to go, but with perseverance the desired effect was created. When completed the group got together with Quadron’s Paul and Andy to admire the results of their labour and were rightfully proud of what they had achieved.
Meanwhile, the second group, led by Quadron’s Cemeteries Supervisor, Damon Lee and Team Leader, Andrew Robinson, were preparing the area for the living hedge. The team immediately got stuck in to dig a deep trench for the trees and line it with organic matter, which would help with the initial establishment of the hedge. The trees were then manoeuvred into place, with lots of teamwork involved, and the trench carefully backfilled to ensure the hedge, and all the team’s hard work, would remain in place. A layer of bark mulch gave the hedge a professional finish and the team were then able to take a well-earned rest and reflect on their achievements.
Once the day’s work was completed, the team were offered a tour of this historic site as thanks for all their hard work. This included looking at St Paul’s view, the chapel and the crypt.
Quadron’s Cemeteries Supervisor, Damon Lee, has been involved at all stages of this year’s RHS Re-use Scheme. He says, “I spent four days at the RHS show and at Nunhead Cemetery to break down and reinstall the plants we were assigned. During that time I worked with around 40 volunteers from Burberry and it has been a very enjoyable experience. All of the participants got completely involved and weren’t afraid of the hard work. At the end of each day, all the participants were grateful for the opportunity to help, but it is us that should be grateful for the assistance Burberry have offered, as without their help, many of the tasks would not have been achieved.”
“Thank you to everyone involved. I hope the partnership with Burberry continues and I would welcome all of the teams back in the future.”
Southwark Council’s Cemeteries Monitoring Officer, Candy Edwards, visited Nunhead Cemetery while Burberry were working to install the hedges and was delighted with the progress being made. She said: “It was wonderful to see the enthusiastic volunteers from Burberry in Nunhead Cemetery. On a hot sunny day the team worked really hard, hedge planting and creating a ‘dead’ hedge. It was great to see the volunteers complete the project as part of the Re-use Scheme.
“The hedging from the RHS Hampton Court Show has been put to great use on this iconic site, not only providing a living feature to replace temporary fencing, but also adding to the biodiversity of the area. The dead hedging also provided an attractive feature which will protect the surrounding area from wear and tear.
“At the end of the day the smiles said it all. The volunteers remarked how rewarding the experience had been, how well they had been looked after by the Quadron staff and were asking how they could continue to volunteer in their own time.
“Thanks to Quadron and particularly the team at Nunhead Cemetery for organising the day.”
Quadron’s Corporate Development Manager, Andrew Kauffman, who leads Quadron’s involvement in the RHS Re-use Scheme and Quadron’s Pan-London Corporate Volunteer Programme, added, “This project really shows the RHS Re-use Scheme and Quadron’s Pan-London Corporate Volunteering Scheme in action. From show garden to community green spaces: Quadron + Client + Business Community = Success.
“Thanks to all involved in making this another positive ‘Sustainable Green Communities’ project.”
Quadron Services is now responsible for maintaining 69 Green Flag sites across its client portfolio, including five new wins for 2015
The Green Flag Awards are presented annually to parks, cemeteries, shopping centres and community gardens across the UK which have been judged against eight strict criteria, including horticultural standards, cleanliness, sustainability and community involvement.
Quadron has assisted many of its clients in the development and implementation of the management plans for their parks, bringing considerable social and environmental benefits to the local neighbourhood. Several of our managers are also national judges.
Coombe Wood, Croydon
In total, 1,582 UK sites have met the high standard needed to achieve the Green Flag Award or the Green Flag Community Award, in what has been another record-breaking year for the Award scheme.
Quadron was particularly pleased to learn that long-standing client, the London Borough of Southwark now boasts 23 Green Flag accredited green spaces, following four new awards for King's Stairs Gardens, Nunhead Green, Salisbury Row Park and Goose Green & Playground. This is the second highest number of Green Flags held by any Local Authority in England, and great news for the people of Southwark, who enjoy the benefits of local green spaces of the very highest standards.
Quadron's Southwark team with their array of Green Flags
International Green Flag Award scheme manager Paul Todd said: "We are delighted to be celebrating another record-breaking year for the Green Flag Award scheme. All the flags flying this year are a testament to the efforts of the thousands of men and women, both staff and volunteers, who work tirelessly to maintain the high standards demanded by the Green Flag Award."
Quadron's Managing Director, Clive Ivil, said: "I am delighted that sixty-nine of the sites Quadron maintains have been judged as fit to fly the Green Flag. These results have been achieved by working in partnership with our clients and local communities to enhance their parks and open spaces. Well done to all our grounds maintenance teams for delivering consistently high standards and participating in projects to promote the use of our clients' parks".
For the full list of Green Flag accredited parks and green spaces maintained by Quadron Services, visit http://www.quadronservices.co.uk/about/awards/green_flag
The RHS Re-use Scheme aims to reuse as much of the plants and landscape materials from the Hampton Court Flower Show's show gardens as possible, and distribute these materials to local community gardens and similar projects.
Linked to this year's campaign, the RHS Show and Communities Team invited Quadron and its local authority clients and third sector partners to the show on Friday 3rd July 2015. A seminar was hosted in the Show's Press Tent to discuss the partnership campaign successes so far and plan for the future of the scheme as Quadron seeks to involve more of our local authorities and community partners, and those involved in the RHS In Bloom campaigns.
To help represent the Reuse Scheme to a wider audience at this year's show, after a late cancellation in the RHS Community Flower Box area, the RHS asked Quadron to construct a flower box from reused materials, compromising a selection of plants that had been generously donated by one of Quadron's corporate partners.
Quadron's Corporate Development Team Andrew Kauffman and Preeti Chatwal, who have coordinated Quadron's involvement in the RHS Reuse scheme over the last 5 years, worked with Quadron's Southwark Cemeteries Supervisor, Damon Lee, and cemeteries gardeners Mary O'Donovan and Lisa Nicholas to plant the flower box.
The bed was based around the theme of 'Past, Present and Future' and the idea that re-use scheme allows past show gardens to be brought into the present local community, for future generations to enjoy.
Following the visit by the RHS judges, Quadron was delighted to learn it had received a Bronze award for its design.
After the closed on 5th July, all the materials from the Flower Box were donated to community groups in Kingston upon Thames, along with other plants and landscape materials donated from this year's show.
Clive Ivil, Quadron's Managing Director, said: "We are extremely pleased to be supporting the RHS with their Hampton Court Re-use Scheme once again. This will be the fifth year that Quadron has been involved in the scheme, which has had real benefits for the local communities who have received plants from the scheme in previous years. Around 40 of Quadron's client officers and members of local community groups attended the seminar on Friday 3rd July, which illustrates the enthusiasm local authorities and community groups have for getting involved in the scheme.
"We were delighted to have been invited to create a flower box for the show and to receive a bronze award. We hope that the display will be enjoyed by visitors for the remainder of the show and that it will continue to be enjoyed by those who receive the plants and materials after the show closes."
An eight-strong team from Markit Financial Information Services joined Quadron’s Cemetery Team, Andrew Robinson and Paul Simms, at Nunhead Cemetery in Southwark on 8th June for one of Markit’s regular Community Service Days.
The day at Nunhead Cemetery was part of a wider programme of community service days that Quadron is supporting Markit with. Quadron has worked with existing parks clients and operational teams across London to develop volunteer maps and calendars which highlight potential added value tasks in key parks suitable for supervised volunteer groups.
Following induction and tool demonstrations, the team worked in Nunhead Cemetery’s Conservation Area to tackle the restoration of the woodland footpath, lay log edging, make and install pegs and spread wood chippings along the path to improve access to the conservation area for all site users.
The session was a great success, and over the course of the day, the team shifted around two tons of woodchip, which had been generated from tree works in Southwark, to surface the path.
Victoria Wade, one of the eight Markit corporate volunteers, commented: “We thoroughly enjoyed the day at Nunhead Cemetery – there was plenty to get involved in and a variety of activities. Paul and Andrew were very knowledgeable about the site, pointing out areas of interest and providing a lot of historical context on how the cemetery has changed since it was created. The sense of team work and achievement at the end of the day was brilliant and we will certainly be back.”
Quadron’s Andrew Robinson and Paul Simms, who led the volunteer day, added: “It was a pleasure to welcome the volunteers from Markit to Nunhead Cemetery. The group worked incredibly hard to complete a footpath construction project around our seasonal pond. The finished result has brought a real benefit to the site, which has already been well received by our visitors.”
Quadron’s Corporate Development Manager, Andrew Kauffman, who developed the Volunteer Map and Calendar as a means of targeting and prioritising potential park projects that could benefit from volunteer involvement said: “The relationship with Markit only started in May 2015 and has already delivered over 400 volunteer hours of added value to client managed parks across London, with more tasks already booked by Markit for July. It has been great to see corporate teams supported by Quadron staff to help improve parks for their users. Long may the relationship continue.”
Nunhead Cemetery Volunteer Map
Quadron’s East Midlands Horticultural Manager, Nicola Clarke, together with Head Ranger, Ciaran Fern, were delighted to be working in partnership with Leicestershire Cares to welcome 8 volunteers from Olive Catering Services from Ratcliffe Culey, Warwickshire to help with conservation work at the Outwoods.
Giving back is a big part of working at Olive Catering. As members of the volunteering body, Leicestershire Cares (www.leicestershirecares.co.uk), they participate in local volunteering projects on an annual basis which not only puts something back to the community but also helps build and enhance the team-working culture of the company.
The work at the Outwoods, a SSSI woodland site, on the outskirts of Loughborough included netting of the wooden boardwalk and the grubbing out of very young sycamore saplings to create new habitat piles. Following an introduction and safety briefing at Quadron’s Derby Road Depot the enthusiastic volunteers from Olive Catering set off to the Outwoods to do some serious work!
The wooden boardwalk poses a serious health and safety risk during wet, colder weather conditions when the wooden surface becomes slip hazard. It was therefore vital to cover it in the chicken wire to provide walkers within the Outwoods with much needed grip and to minimise the risk of the public injuring themselves.
The work proved to be more physical than the volunteers had anticipated, but they rose to the challenge, and working together as a team they managed to completely cover the boardwalk with the chicken wire by the end of the day.
Whilst members of the team worked diligently on the boardwalk, other members worked equally as hard grubbing out very young sycamore saplings from the surrounding area of the boardwalk and creating habitat piles for insects and small mammals. Technically Sycamore is a non-native tree, however it has been on the British Mainland for many hundreds of years. Sycamore seeds prolifically and these seeds self set very easily so that the tree can become invasive under favourable conditions within woodlands. Furthermore, the Sycamore characteristically develops large leaves which can shade out other woodland species and because it is fast growing (much quicker than the native Oak tree) and also shade tolerant itself , it can become over dominant. It therefore needs to be managed to provide greater biodiversity to the woodland and allow other species to develop and grow.
It was an absolute pleasure for everyone involved on the Quadron Charnwood Contract to work alongside the volunteering team from Olive Catering Services. By the end of the day the boardwalk was no longer a slip hazard and a good area of woodland was cleared of invasive Sycamore to provide more light for the growing woodland understorey and young Oak. The quality of workmanship was outstanding and something which the volunteers should feel justly proud of.
On behalf of Charnwood Borough Council and the local community, Quadron would like to express their thanks to all of the Olive Catering Services team for their superb effort. We very much look forward to working in partnership with them again in the near future.
A team of eight volunteers from charity, Certitude, who provide personalised support for people with learning disabilities, autism and mental health needs, visited Holland Park in Kensington on Friday 27th March to help construct a new pathway in the Ecology area.
The session was part of a longer-term project that Quadron is running with teams of corporate volunteers from local organisations and volunteer brokers such as TimeBank, which will see the creation of 660 linear metres of pathway through the Ecology and Forest School Area in Holland Park. Managed by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea’s Ecology Team, the Forest School aims to encourage children’s emotional and physical development through outdoor play and exploration in a woodland classroom.
The volunteers received a health and safety induction and instruction on safe use of the tools they would be using before it was off to start work under the direction of Holland Park’s Head Gardener, Ian Fleming, and Quadron Development Managers, Andrew Kauffman and Preeti Chatwal-Kauffman.
The task involved laying and pegging a Mypex membrane along the planned pathway, which was then bordered by lengths of logs that had been reclaimed from tree cutting operations in the park. Bark chippings were then spread and levelled over the membrane to create a natural looking path.
The team did a fantastic job, creating 162 linear metres of new pathway in under five hours, including surfacing the Forest School’s Willow Classroom area.
Quadron Development Manager, Preeti Chatwal-Kauffman, says, “The area has undergone a complete transformation and the volunteers seemed to enjoy every minute of it. This shows just what can be achieved through organised volunteering, even with tight resources. Thank you to all involved for your hard work and also to TimeBank who helped facilitate this event.”
Quadron’s Development Team was delighted to join Paragon Community Housing Group residents at Kemble Close, Weybridge in November 2014, to lead a community planting event.
The event was part of a programme of ongoing improvements that grounds maintenance provider, Quadron Services, has developed in partnership with Paragon and its residents.
Earlier in the year Quadron’s Development Team worked with Paragon’s Resident Involvement Team to conduct a design workshop. The workshop was an opportunity for residents to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of their communal garden and how it could be made more useable and sustainable.
Based on the residents’ wish-list, Quadron constructed three raised wooden planters for the garden area and has worked with resident volunteers to undertake basic pruning and other tasks to improve the garden’s appearance.
The event on 30th November saw the Quadron Development Team join Kemble Close residents in the garden once again for a series of gardening workshops and tutorials.
Residents of all ages were keen to join in and exercise their green fingers. Under the Quadron team’s guidance, they learned how to plant up colourful winter hanging baskets before moving on to plant up the new raised beds with winter flowering bedding. The day concluded with a turfing masterclass led by Quadron’s Contract Manager and Lantra-accredited trainer, Rob Carver.
The Kemble Close residents are now looking forward to spending more time enjoying their garden and the Quadron team looks forward to working together to deliver similar projects in the future.
Thanks to the Kemble Close residents for getting involved and Paragon’s resident involvement team for supporting the event.
Quadron’s Horticultural Development Manager, Nicola Clarke, was delighted to be helping The Corner Garden Community Group and local residents with their first ever planting event on the first day of spring.
The corner garden was once an unloved, dangerous and unsightly patch of ground that encouraged anti-social behaviour on the corner of Cambridge Street and Charles Street. Fed up with the situation, local residents formed the Corner Garden Community Group and, working with Charnwood Borough Council transformed the area into a beautiful and welcoming community garden. The group were also supported by the Loughborough Rotary Club, which funded the levelling of the area and the railings around the garden, and helped with other funding opportunities.
Quadron’s Horticultural Supervisor, Martin Botham, redesigned the flower borders around the garden to add all year round colour and interest to the area, not just for local residents but for pollinating insects too. A successful bid for a Community Development and Engagement Grant from Charnwood Borough Council meant that the new planting design could go ahead , along with other planned improvements such as the painting of the benches and the purchasing of a new noticeboard.
Local residents had great fun planting all the new plants and bulbs and were rewarded for their efforts with some orange squash and home made cakes—which, everyone agreed, tasted delicious.
The children and adults also labelled the flowers and shrubs they planted , so that they can come back into the garden and see how theirs are growing over the coming year.
Marisa Iliffe, Chair of the Corner Garden Community Group, said: "We are forever thankful for the support of the Rotary Club, Hiron from Charnwood Borough Council, and Quadron, who have helped push this project forward."
Quadron staff from the Hodge Hill Contract were delighted to be working in partnership with Birmingham City Council and The Friends of Ward End Park with the launch of the first ever National Community Clear Up Day.
The initiative was announced by the Government at the beginning of February as a ‘call to arms’ for local communities to mark the first day of spring by undertaking a ‘national spring clean’. The aim being to spruce up the country’s high streets, residential and business areas, villages and parks to help end the scourge of litter.
The Friends of Ward End Park rose to the challenge and along with volunteers from the local Brownies group helped Quadron staff to clear numerous bags of litter from within Ward End Park.
It is amazing how such collaborative efforts and small actions can help to make all the difference and show the value of making public places litter free. Litter spoils the enjoyment of our towns, countryside and costs millions to clear up. By taking responsibility the Friends of Ward End Park and the Brownies are demonstrating that dropping litter is socially unacceptable.
Research shows that the best way to keep ex-offenders out of prison is to get them into work as soon as possible after they re-enter society. To minimise the re-offending rate, charities and employers are pioneering new projects in the Wandsworth area to provide job opportunities to offenders from prisons such as HMP Wandsworth and HMP Brixton.
Quadron Services is a local employer which provides grounds maintenance services to Wandsworth Council and other local authorities. Blue Sky sub-contracts from Quadron some of this work and recruits ex-offenders to deliver it, while also ensuring that they are supervised, mentored and resettled once their 6-month contract comes to an end. The collaboration is successful, with workers integrating well into the maintenance teams, building their skills and earning a good wage.
To highlight this valuable work Dan Watkins, Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Tooting, invited Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Justice, to meet these organisations and join an induction session for new recruits at Quadron Services’ yard on Tooting Common.
Mr Grayling heard the challenges faced by ex-prisoners looking for work, ranging from the difficulty of convincing employers to give them a job, to affording housing near to the workplace.
Fortunately, help is at hand from charities such as Blue Sky and RAPt, who help people with drug and alcohol dependence to overcome addiction, gain skills and find work.
Attendees also heard Danny Broom’s story. Having done multiple spells in prison, he was provided mentoring by Wandsworth charity, Carney’s Community, and its founder, George Turner. A discussion between George and Dan Watkins led to an introduction for Danny and two others to the Blue Sky team, who immediately placed them at Quadron Services. Danny’s hard work was rewarded when he was promoted to team leader, managing a small team that worked at Wandsworth Cemetery, and following this success he is now doing an apprenticeship with another local employer.
The Q&A session with Mr Grayling highlighted the challenges faced by those working at the coal face of prisoner and ex-prisoner employment, with ideas suggested that will help boost similar programmes operating across the country, so that more people can be given opportunities and re-offending rates reduced.
Finally, after a Quadron staff trainer provided an induction on operating an industrial-scale grass strimmer, trainee Darren Williams gave a masterclass in maintaining Tooting Common!
Chris Grayling said:
“Everyone here today should be proud of their efforts working in this challenging area. We can see the excellent results being achieved that are giving these young men the chance to lead a stable and independent life, free of crime.”
Dan Watkins said:
“I’m honoured to have been able to have been involved with these fantastic local groups, working so hard to turn the lives around for these men. I hope that other employers will hear of these success stories at Quadron and will also want to get involved with this initiative.”
Martyn Bradley, Quadron Services Operations Director, said:
“We believe the key to success in this type of social enterprise is developing strong employment-focused relationships with the staff and our client base.
“Working with Blue Sky has proved to be a real and productive partnership on the ground, enabling Quadron to meet our high standards. In addition, our relationship with Blue Sky has greatly increased the number of people we are able to reach and offer opportunities to, enabling us to meet our social responsibilities to the communities in which we work.”
Cristina Fernandez, RAPt:
“RAPt are proud to have been involved in today’s event. We are excited about developing new schemes to support people to build brighter futures for themselves, free from drugs and crime.”
Darren Williams, Blue Sky employee:
“By offering me this 6 month contract, Blue Sky is giving me a second chance that I never thought I’d get. This is my opportunity to show how hard I can work and what a good employee I can be.”
Nine members of staff from Quadron’s Southwark contract have successfully passed the new Work Based Environmental Conservation training programme, which was developed in partnership with The Conservation Volunteers (TCV).
Quadron and TCV designed the course with the aim of improving staff’s capacity to work with community and corporate volunteers on conservation activities in Southwark’s parks. This supports Southwark Council in its aim of increasing third sector involvement in the delivery of its parks services, while continuing Quadron’s commitment to developing its staff through ongoing training.
The course, which commenced in July 2014, involved ten practical sessions in Burgess Park and Nunhead Cemetery, led by TCV’s tutors, as well as assessed coursework elements including developing habitat surveys and carrying out butterfly transects. The course aimed to improve staff’s knowledge of conservation work and how to effectively and safely plan and deliver conservation activities with volunteer groups.
The areas covered included:
The course culminated on 12th November with a practical assessment, which saw the learners leading a team of corporate volunteers from Burberry as they undertook a coppicing and dead hedging task in Burgess Park. Over the course of the session the Quadron staff were assessed by their tutors from TCV on their management of the event.
The Quadron team was pleased to learn that everyone had passed with flying colours. Sam Cook and Alan Marchant from the TCV training scheme presented the staff with their certificates of achievement on 19th November. They were joined by Jonathan Best, Southwark Council’s Ecology Officer, who is keen that the council’s green spaces continue to be managed with consideration for conservation issues. He says, “Southwark is sixth in England with 76% of our Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation in positive management. This success is down to all the people involved in maintaining our green spaces, and in a large part to Quadron, who deliver this work in our parks and open spaces.”
Feedback from the participants on the course has also been extremely positive, including these comments:
Gerry Kelsey, Head Gardener, Burgess Park: “The course was thorough and challenging. It tackled many conservation issues and I now feel equipped to lead a volunteer team with confidence and self-assurance.”
Sissel Dahl, Head Gardener, Dulwich Mobile: “I really enjoyed the conservation training; I thought it was well organised and presented. It was useful to learn the standard method for conducting habitat surveys and I will use this to survey some of my parks. The tree felling was fun and challenging, but done in a safe manner. It was great working with the volunteers and I recruited a few new members to our local Friends of the Parks groups. I would recommend this course to my colleagues.”
The Southwark team is now looking forward to putting their training into practice and delivering further conservation-based and volunteering activities in Southwark’s open spaces. They are currently developing structured volunteer maps and calendars for each of their parks, to providing more structured opportunities for community and corporate volunteers to carry out conservation-related activities in parks and support Southwark Council’s Green Flag management plans for its parks.
Many ex-offenders struggle to find employment when they are released from prison, due to their criminal record. A partnership between Quadron and charity, Blue Sky, is helping by providing horticultural related work experience and training, often leading to a full-time permanent job.
Blue Sky aims to break the cycle of re-offending by employing and training teams of ex-offenders and offering them as an alternative to agency labour in a range of industries, such as environmental services and grounds maintenance.
Each team, comprising up to five participants, is led by a skilled supervisor, who provides mentoring and ensures the team is led to consistently high standards, with discipline a key consideration. Blue Sky ensures each candidate’s full history is known and does not employ sex offenders or those with current substance reliance or anger management issues.
During 2014, Blue Sky has provided teams to carry out grounds maintenance work on Quadron’s local authority grounds maintenance contracts for the London Borough of Southwark, Wandsworth Borough Council, Croydon Council and Medway Council. As well as providing obvious benefits of work experience and a wage to the Blue Sky participants, the arrangements also help Quadron’s local authority clients to achieve the aims of the Social Value Act with little or no added cost.
So far this year, the partnership has seen 40 participants in the scheme gain valuable work experience carrying out grounds maintenance activities such as mowing and strimming, working alongside Quadron’s teams of operatives. During that time, many have successfully gained recognised qualifications, including chemical and pesticides spraying, car and trailer driving and Personal Track Safety.
Of those who have completing the programme with Quadron and Blue Sky during 2014, three participants have found permanent jobs, one of whom joined Quadron’s Southwark contract as a full-time Apprentice Gardener and who is now working towards a Level 2 Diploma in Work-Based Horticulture.
Due to the success of the scheme to date, Quadron and Blue Sky will be continuing their partnership with further programmes planned for commencement in early 2015. Utilising teams from Blue Sky will not only help Quadron to manage the seasonal peak workload over the Spring and Summer season but will also provide a potential pool of staff to fill vacancies as they arise, who are already trained and are familiar with the work.
Quadron’s Operations Director, Martyn Bradley, commented: “Working with Blue Sky has proved to be a real and productive partnership on the ground, thus enabling Quadron to meet our high standards. In addition,relationship with Blue Sky has greatly increased the number of people we are able to reach and offer opportunities within a highly supportive environment.”
John Chesters, Blue Sky’s Commercial and Development Director, added: “It has been a pleasure working with you all and we are delighted that so many people have been given the opportunity to get some experience, build a work history and start to turn their lives around.
“We will continue to work with all the people you’ve employed to help get them into full time work, so the total onward jobs number will certainly increase.
“There have been some challenges, but we hope we will be able to repeat, and even build on, the success of this year as our partnership continues.”
Quadron was delighted to assist the Friends of Grange Park Play Area by sponsoring their autumn bulb planting event at Grange Park in Old Coulsdon, Croydon
Quadron donated 3,500 crocus and daffodil bulbs, as well as tools, gloves and other materials for the ‘Growing in Grange Park’ event, which took place on Saturday 8th November.
Over 200 local residents braved the cold and showery weather to plant the bulbs, as well as enjoying activities including face painting and a cake stall arranged by the park’s Friends group.
Adrian and Brian from Quadron’s Croydon contract led the planting activities, ensuring that the equipment was used correctly and the task carried our safely. Quadron also provided compost and pots, and many of the attendees enjoyed planting up their own pot of spring bulbs to take home, in return for a donation to the Friends of Grange Park’s play area renovation fund.
The event concluded with a popular ‘Welly-wanging’ competition, run by the local branch of the Air Cadets, and a total of £622 was raised towards funding renovations to the park’s play area.
Hannah Price-Harries of the Friends of Grange Park Play Area was thrilled with the success of the event, and contacted Quadron with these kind words: “The Friends of Grange Park Play Area would like to extend their sincere thanks to Quadron Services for their generous support in helping us to hold our Autumn Bulb Planting Event. Over 3,500 bulbs, which were generously donated by Quadron, were planted in Grange Park by local people, including young families, who attended our event. This was so popular an attraction that we ran out of bulbs with over an hour to go before the end of our event!
“We would like to thank, in particular, Quadron’s Adrian and Brian, who enthusiastically worked with local people to plant up bulbs, despite the abysmal weather conditions. They were polite, hard-working and a pleasure to have supporting us at our event. Further, Andrew Kauffman took the lead in much of the planning for the day, helping us to pull off the event at relatively short notice, even corresponding with us extensively while on a family break in India to ensure that the event was meticulously planned. This dedication in the corporate world, speaking from my own experience, is unique.
“We look forward to working with Quadron Services in future and are very grateful for your generous support.”
Quadron’s Corporate Development Manager, Andrew Kauffman, commented: “As a community-focussed company we look forward to working closely with stakeholder groups and encouraging active involvement in their green spaces. It was great to see so many members of the local community of all ages exercising their green fingers in the park, in spite of the weather.
“Quadron was pleased to support the Friends of Grange Park as they strive to raise match funds to improve the park’s play facilities and we look forward to being involved in similar events in the future.”
The ‘Day of Caring’ was organised by Croydon Council and grounds maintenance contractor, Quadron Services, after IHS contacted the council to express a heartfelt desire to repeat the success of previous ‘Caring for Coulsdon Days’.
Quadron was very happy to assist by leading a day of conservation-related activities in Happy Valley Park. At just over 100 hectares, the park is Croydon Council’s largest public open space, and most of the site is designated as a Site of Specific Scientific Interest (SSSI) of national importance for wildlife.
The team of 17 willing volunteers spent a glorious day in the sun, clearing bramble from ‘Devilsden Wood’, an area of ancient woodland within the park. The work will allow woodland flowers, such as bluebells, and recently-planted hazel trees to flourish, as well as providing ideal habitat for the resident population of dormice, which are a rare and protected species.
The day involved cutting back the bramble using loppers and other hand tools, and raking the cuttings into piles and burning them on a bonfire.
Quadron’s Countryside Warden, Dominic North, said “It was hard but incredibly satisfying work, and we saw a huge difference before and after the task, which will be rewarded by a great display of spring woodland flowers next year.”
The dormice and other wildlife are encouraged by ‘coppicing’ the woodland, which involves cutting some of the trees down to ground level each year and allowing them to re-grow over a period of years. This creates sunny glades for woodland flowers and butterflies, and, as the trees grow back, provides homes for species such as woodland birds and dormice.
However, for the first few years after coppicing, the glades can be overtaken by vigorous bramble re-growth, which smothers the woodland flowers, such as bluebells, and competes with some of the trees which we plant in these areas. Clearing the bramble is extremely valuable work.
Team leader Neil Wiese, head of content at IHS, said everyone felt uplifted (albeit a little stiffer in the back) after achieving a noticeable clearing of the wood on the day: “We took this on not really knowing what we were letting ourselves in for, but just wanting to put something back into the community. As it turned out, we think we got more back than we put in because it was just so peaceful and therapeutic working with nature. Our people raved about it to colleagues when they got back to work and now everyone wants to do it next year.
“It was also an eye-opener to most of the team that such a majestic patch of English beauty and tranquillity as Devilsden Wood is just a few minutes by car from their Brighton Road place of work.”
Twenty corporate volunteers from O2 Telefonica joined the Quadron team in the grounds of Wexham Park Hospital in Slough on 22 September to carry out improvements to the hospital’s kitchen courtyard and garden.
The day was part of a programme of corporate volunteering events organised at the hospital by Quadron’s Development Team, the hospital’s Fund Raising and Volunteers Manager, Mike Stone, and the Slough Business Community Partnership (SBCP).
Under the guidance of the Quadron team, the volunteers set to work clearing weeds from the courtyard’s brick paving, re-planting pots and planters and fixing new wooden edging around the shrub bed. The plants and materials were funded by O2 under their ‘Day of Caring’ scheme, with some additional plants also being donated by Quadron via the RHS Re-use Scheme. Quadron also provided tools and PPE and demonstrations of their safe use.
The volunteers worked extremely hard and by the end of the afternoon the courtyard had been transformed into a tidier, more welcoming space for the hospital’s staff, patients and visitors.
Mike Stone, the hospital’s Fundraising and Volunteer Manager, commented:
“There has been a long and mutually beneficial relationship between Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and O2. Teams from many different departments have come in and worked on many different courtyards and gardens within Wexham Park Hospital. This latest project was one of the largest yet.
“Thanks must go to all those who took part and thanks to Quadron for organising and managing the day with the corporate volunteers. It is the enthusiasm and generosity of companies such as O2 that allow us to improve the surroundings of the hospital for patients, visitors and staff.”
The event on 22 September was followed by another successful volunteer session on 29 September, with a six-person team from Mars Chocolate UK. The enthusiastic team spent the afternoon in the Paragon Suite Courtyard where they worked with the Quadron team to prune shrubbery, replant planters and lay a Mypex weed-proof membrane to the shrub beds.
The volunteers very much enjoyed the experience and Chris Taylor from Mars Chocolate UK said:
“Improving the courtyard garden for the Paragon Suite at Wexham Park Hospital was a great chance to give something back to the hospital that cared so well for a close relative of mine. Volunteering through our Mars in the Community Scheme, with the help of SBCP and Quadron, gave everyone in our team the opportunity to make a real difference for the staff an patients who will hopefully soon be enjoying the revamped garden.”
Claire Marshall, Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospital’s Associate Director of Patient Experience and Public Involvement added:
“I am delighted that Mars Volunteers have once again chosen Wexham Park Hospital to give their time to improve the gardens. Enhancing the outside spaces makes a positive difference to both patient and staff experience. Some of our wards look out over this particular garden, which has been unloved for some time. The changes will have an immediate impact. Thank you from the patients and staff at Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospitals.
“Thanks also to Quadron for their support in organising and managing such events and the donation of materials from RHS Hampton Court, all helping to liven up the courtyard and improve patient and staff experience at the hospital.”
Andrew Kauffman, Quadron’s Corporate Development Manager, who has organised and led many of the volunteering sessions, says:
“Working in partnership with the NHS Hospital Trust and Slough Business Partnership, Quadron’s Development Team has been able to prioritise tasks in key courtyards throughout Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospital, making improvements to both hard and soft landscapes.
“The improvements that have been made so far with input from corporate volunteers have been amazing and make a real difference to these areas, which are used by patients, hospital staff and visitors alike, and so improve the hospital experience for all.”
Quadron is continuing to work in partnership with the hospital and Slough Business Community Partnership to co-ordinate an ongoing programme of corporate volunteering events, including working with N20 to transform an area outside the paediatric unit into a country scene, complete with (wooden) sheep!
Community groups and gardening projects in the London area have benefitted from 120 tons of bulk aggregates, hundreds of plants and a range of sundries from the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show, thanks to Quadron and its partners in the RHS Re-use Scheme
The RHS Re-use Scheme has been running for several years, and Quadron’s Development Team was excited to be invited back this year to lead the project for a second time, in what was also the 50th year of the RHS Britain in Bloom campaign.
The re-use scheme ensures that many of the plants and materials used in the RHS Hampton Court Flower show are put to good use in projects that make a difference to local communities, rather than simply being sent to landfill after the show closes. All plants and materials available for re-use are gathered up by the dedicated Quadron team and volunteers, led by Quadron Development Managers Andrew Kauffman and Preeti Chatwal. The materials are loaded onto lorries, delivered to community sites and often the Quadron team design and plant new garden areas locally to enhance gardens in housing estates, hospitals, schools and residential homes so these plants go on benefitting communities year after year.
Beneficiaries of the scheme in previous years have included Wexham Park Hospital, White City Estate in Hammersmith and housing schemes belonging to Paragon Housing and Kingston Housing.
Quadron’s call to its network of volunteers was met with an enthusiastic response, including volunteers from previous re-use campaigns and new faces from Groundwork’s Volunteer Richmond. Quadron supplied five volunteers per day during the build up to the show, who were tasked with talking to exhibitors and garden sponsors about the re-use campaign and obtaining consent for materials to be donated. The volunteers were given a site briefing and supplied with appropriate PPE so that they could move about the site safely.
After the Show closed its gates, the race to clear the site began, which had to be seen to be believed! Quadron operations staff from the nearby Kingston, Paragon, Hammersmith and Wandsworth contracts, volunteers, and partners including Advanced Tree Services, AFG Grab Services and West London Removals, returned to the site early on 14th July and, over the course of the week, moved the donated material to the dedicated re-use areas where it was then collected for redistribution.
By the end of the week, 120 tons of bulk aggregates, 50 Danish trollies of plants and a range of sundries had been collected, all of which are currently being distributed free of charge to local good causes, including allotments, schools sheltered housing schemes and friends of parks projects.
Chris Egan, Scheme Manager for Kingston Housing, which received a donation of plants, said: “I would like to say a big thank you on behalf of myself and our tenants for the flowers that have recently been delivered. They will make a huge difference to how the flowerbeds around the site look.”
In addition to supporting the RHS Re-use scheme locally, Quadron also assisted the RHS Communities Team with relocating the RHS Britain in Bloom Garden from its home at the show to Letchworth Garden City. Quadron teams, supported by volunteers and garden designer Jon Wheatley, arranged for the movement of 24 tons of aggregates and over 100 trollies of plants from Hampton Court to Standalone Farm in Letchworth Garden City. The materials will be turned into a new garden for the community.
David Green, Show Manager at Hampton Court Flower Show, said, “The RHS and, in particular the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show Team, would like to thank Quadron for their support managing this year’s re-use scheme.
“Quadron’s support has helped to ensure that community projects across London will benefit from additional horticultural materials. Without the Quadron staff and volunteers’ tireless work during the show, the scheme would not have been as successful as it was.
“Many thanks to all involved and the RHS looks forward to working with Quadron again in the future.”
Andrew Kauffman and Preeti Chatwal, Quadron’s Development Managers, added, “Quadron looks forward to the annual RHS Re-use Scheme at Hampton Court Palace which benefits so many community organisations and projects across London. It is an enriching experience working with volunteers and exhibitors from a wide variety of landscape fields, and the sense of team spirit and satisfaction at seeing the projects benefit makes the whole process very rewarding for all involved. Bring on 2015!”
After consultation with staff in 2014, Quadron’s Bi-borough team in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham requested Green Flag judges training for head gardeners and senior supervisors to further increase the buy-in from teams on site in the year round quest for maintaining the Green Flag standard.
Michele Walde, Green Flag Training and Development Manager, ran the course at Green Flag Award-winning site, Normand Park in April and put the team through their paces.
They learned about the judging process and the eight criteria that are used to assess each park:
After learning the theory, it was time for the aspiring judges to tour the park and carry out a mock judging to put into practice what they had learned.
We are pleased to say that all eight candidates achieved the necessary standard and received the prestigious Green Badge and Certificate and will join the dedicated team of Green Flag judges for the 2014-15 judging season.
The participants found the course an interesting an rewarding experience.
Steve Cassidy, Supervisor at North Norland Park, in Hammersmith and Fulham, said: “I enjoyed this course as it was very well delivered and gave me a good understanding of how judges should come to their decision and the criteria that Green Flag use; this added to my own knowledge and experience of the positive impact parks and open spaces should have on their users.”
Abdi Halane, Bi-borough Sports Development Manager added: “The Green Flag course was very useful. It provided me with a good understanding of how parks and green spaces are judged and how each category from the judging list should be considered carefully to give a fair result to the applicant.”
Quadron has been working in partnership with Affinity Sutton’s Resident Involvement Team and Exeter Probation Services on improvements to the Bronte and Bradninch Housing schemes near Exeter.
As part of its ongoing grounds maintenance contract with Affinity Sutton Housing, Quadron has been consulting with residents to identify potential areas of improvement in their housing schemes.
Feedback from residents on the Bradninch Housing scheme identified an area in the car park near their scheme as a site with potential for improvement as the few tired shrubs offered little interest. In consultation with residents about what they would like to see in the area, Quadron produced a design incorporating two timber planters which residents could plant with flowers or vegetables to enhance the area. Quadron sourced the planters at a competitive price from local supplier, the Raised Garden Bed Company, and cleared the site of vegetation and the two beds were soon constructed and the area given a neat finish with a border of ornamental bark.
A planting day took place in April, when local residents were joined once again by Quadron and teams from Exeter Probation Services. One of the beds was planted with flowers and ornamental plants such as phormium, salvias, and dahlias, while the second planter contains a mixture of herbs and vegetables. Residents of all ages turned out to help with the planting and enjoyed learning how to plant and take care of the various species.
Quadron also worked with residents of the nearby Bronte housing scheme to improve an area of the communal garden. A team of five from Exeter Probation Services joined Quadron and residents on the site to extend an area of paving and construct two raised timber beds of the same type installed at Bradninch. The addition of new paving around the raised beds means that the area is now suitable for use by wheelchair users who will find it easier to join in with gardening activities.
Mandy Jones, who is a resident of the Bradninch scheme, said, “As a small community we would like to say a big thank you to both Quadron and Affinity Sutton for their support in helping us to create and maintain tidy and pleasant surroundings. With their support we have all been able to come together as a community, which means we all appreciate the area in which we live.
“We all agreed what a superb day it was and how lovely the planters now look - a real asset to our estate and such an enjoyable way to enhance the area. Involving the children ensures they, as they grow, continue to care for their environment. This makes for a happy and tidy community, one which we can all be proud of.”
Quadron’s Corporate Development Manager, Andrew Kauffman, who was involved throughout the project and took part in the planting day, added, “The residents really have made a change to their local environment and, after talking to residents during the planting day, I am confident this improvement will continue after the project, which is great news. Quadron will continue to support Affinity Sutton and its residents in similar projects and we are already looking forward to meeting more residents at the hanging basket workshop which will take place during May.”
Working in partnership with Teignbridge District Council and Devon and Cornwall Probation Trust to renovate glasshouses at Cross Park Nursery to provide a community allotment under glass
When Quadron tendered for the grounds maintenance service contract at Teignbridge, the glasshouses at Cross Park Nursery were in a state of disuse and in need of much repair. However, Quadron recognised the potential of the site and the benefits it could bring to the local community and so, with the support of Teignbridge District Council and local organisations, set about the task of restoring the glasshouses to provide a multi-use community food growing space and learning resource area.
There are four separate glasshouses which are being restored one at a time with assistance from the Devon and Cornwall Probation Trust Torquay Team, who supplied a team to help with the construction of the allotment beds in Glasshouse 1.
The first allotment under glass was completed in Spring 2013 and contains 48 Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) compliant raised allotment beds. The glasshouse has also been fitted with thermal screening. Quadron is renting the raised beds to local residents and groups to grow their own vegetables and salad crops.
One of the probationers involved commented, “It was hard work moving tons of earth, but when you see the finished job with plants growing it looks great.”
Phase 2 of the project saw the renovation of the cold frames surrounding the glasshouse. Quadron funded these works and was supported by local timber mill, Brunel Supplies, and students from the South Devon College Carpentry Team. The cold frame tops were fitted on site by volunteers from the Devon and Cornwall Probation Trust Torquay Team.
There has been great interest in the project from the local community, with 70% of the plots in the glasshouse now being occupied by members of the local community who are enjoying being able to ‘grow their own’.
Local resident, Louise Wright, who rents one of the plots, says, “We had been looking for an allotment plot locally but having been on the waiting list for some time it was great to hear about the allotments under glass. We have been able to grow a range of vegetables and salads throughout the year which has reduced our shopping bills while keeping my husband and me active.”
Quadron’s Client, Teignbridge District Council, is extremely pleased with the results of the project. Cllr George Gribble, the Council’s Executive Spokesman for Communities, Recreation and Leisure, commented, “We’re really pleased with the renovation of the glasshouses at Coach Road, Newton Abbot. Allotments are affordable, but in may parts of the country are few and far between. This goes some way to helping people grow their own food, stay active and look after the land. Now all we need are green-fingered gardeners to roll up their sleeves and get stuck in!”
Quadron’s Horticultural Development Manager, Andrew Kauffman, adds, “This has been a challenging but extremely rewarding project to work on.
“Works to repair and re-glaze Glasshouse 2 were completed in early 2014 and Quadron and Teignbridge District Council are talking to the conservation charity, The Conservation Volunteers (TCV), in Newton Abbot about developing this glasshouse into a learning resource area for local schools, colleges and skills training providers… Watch this space!”
After requests from Quadron’s Southwark client and the Friends of Nunhead Cemetery, Quadron Services worked with partners at The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) to find a suitable course for site-based staff to undertake to improve their understanding of conservation management principles and practice.
The Level 2 Diploma in Work-Based Environmental Conservation is a detailed course which provides practical experience of activities such as conducting field surveys, habitat management and promoting responsible public use of the environment. Andrew Robinson, who is a Team Leader at Nunhead Cemetery, was the first member of Quadron staff to undertake the training.
Nunhead Cemetery is a 52 acre site, with approximately 70% being dedicated conservation area and a local nature reserve. It is therefore important that grounds maintenance staff have a good appreciation of conservation management practices. These benefit the site not only from an ecological perspective but also an historical one, given the number of listed buildings and monuments contained within.
Conservation projects to date have largely focussed on improving habitat to promote biodiversity. Specific tasks carried out by the on-site maintenance team have included:
Since completing the Practical Work-Based Conservation training, on-site staff have led a number of successful volunteer days in conjunction with Southwark Council, the Friends of Nunhead Cemetery, Groundwork London and News UK. Projects have included:
In addition to the volunteering days at Nunhead, the skills gained have enabled staff to share their experiences and be involved with other volunteering projects across the Southwark contract, for example at Burgess Park.
The conservation practices adopted fit well with Southwark Council’s management plan and also support the site’s Green Flag status. Feedback from the previous Green Flag inspection noted the opportunity to create scalloped ‘bays’ at intervals along footpath edges, designed to provide natural windbreaks for flying insects and birds. This is something the team has already begun to implement alongside their other projects.
Following his successful completion of the training and attainment of the Level 2 Award, Andrew Robinson commented, “The practical work-based conservation training has equipped me with the skills and knowledge to undertake conservation tasks with confidence and share my experiences with colleagues and volunteers. I’ve learned that conservation is not just about letting nature take its course, but rather that with pro-active management and maintenance a site’s environmental value and biodiversity can be improved.”
Andrew Kauffman, Quadron’s Corporate Horticultural Development Manager, added, “It has been great to see the projects in Nunhead Cemetery develop over the duration of the course and the qualification has acted as a real catalyst to build closer relationships between client, contractor and community on site. The success of recent corporate volunteering and Friends of Nunhead Cemetery events are a testament to this and Andrew’s drive and commitment to the site have made a real winning formula.”
Mark Thompson from Southwark Council’s Nunhead Cemetery Team also commented, “Andy has produced some amazing work for Southwark Council since he has been working with us. The skills Andy has learnt on the practical conservation course have benefitted the whole team. Andy has also been able to transfer his new skills to Nunhead Cemetery and has been working closely with local community groups. The enthusiasm and dedication Andy has shown throughout the year has benefitted the whole site and helped us retain our Green Flag.”
Quadron has been looking after the design, maintenance and management of the Borough Council’s roundabout sponsorship programme since 2012 and actively seeks the participation of the local business community.
Sponsorship is on an annual basis and may involve the planting or enhancement of floral and shrub displays according to a design agreed between the sponsor and the council. This helps to improve the appearance of the town and provide a more attractive environment for residents and visitors.
Sponsoring companies gain by having their name and logo displayed prominently on roundabouts, where they are visible to potentially tens or hundreds of thousands of car occupants and pedestrians every day, at a highly cost-effective price.
The income generated from sponsorship goes directly to the Borough Council and ensures the continued provision of the amenity horticulture features and contributes to the landscape and environmental activities of the Council.
So successful has the scheme become that several of Wokingham’s roundabouts now have a waiting list of businesses who wish to sponsor them.
Quadron is continuing to work with Wokingham Borough Council to develop and expand the scheme for the benefit of local businesses and the community.
Working in partnership with The London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, Friends of South Park and St Thomas’s School, the Council’s grounds maintenance contractor, Quadron Services, sought funding for a new artificial cricket facility for the park.
South Park offers the only publicly accessible cricket tables in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham and these are heavily used by the six local cricket clubs and five schools. Due to this high usage, the quality of the pitches was degrading and it was clear that there was sufficient demand for an additional facility that could ease the pressure on the pitch, and which could be used all year round to allow the local teams and schools to practice. An additional facility would also support the Borough’s aim to improve access to sport and recreation for all of the community.
Working together with the Friends of South Park, Hammersmith and Fulham’s Community Sports Manager and the local cricket clubs and schools, Quadron’s Horticultural Development Manager, Andrew Kauffman, sourced quotes for the installation of an artificial cricket wicket and nets, and investigated funding avenues to cover the cost of this work being carried out.
There was great enthusiasm from the local community, with many letters received in support of the project and the positive effect the new facility would have in encouraging more people to try the sport.
Artificial sports turf specialists, NottSport, provided a quote to supply a two lane cricket cage with perimeter fencing and an ECB approved Envelope System Artificial Match and Andrew then worked with the Friends of South Park to submit an application to the London Marathon Charitable Trust, which resulted in £65,000 being granted to the project. Additional funds were also received from Thomas London’s School and the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham.
The installation work was carried out during Spring 2013, with the facility being opened to the public on 9th July when Cllr Greg Smith, pupils from Thomas London’s School, the Friends of South Park and Quadron staff played some practice overs on the new artificial wicket.
The new facility looks set to be a huge hit with the local cricket clubs and schools, and will also be offered as a facility for the London Sports Trust to help “inspire positive change in young Londoners through sport.”
Cllr Greg Smith, Deputy Leader of LBHF Council commented, “The support of Quadron in securing the funding for the new cricket nets at South Park was invaluable. Working together with the Friends of South Park and St Thomas’ School, Quadron went the extra mile to ensure first class cricket facilities are available for everyone in Hammersmith & Fulham.”
In 2009, central government withdrew the £100,000 that had been earmarked under the PlayBuillder scheme for the construction of a destination playground on Cambridge Road Estate, the largest social housing site in Kingston.
This was devastating news for the estate. However, Kingston upon Thames’ grounds maintenance contractor, Quadron Services, was able to assist by securing in excess of £150,000 of external funding from the London Marathon Trust to resurrect the project for the residents of the estate.
An intensive period of consultation with local residents and tendering took place, spearheaded by Quadron, and in 2012 Proludic Playgrounds were awarded the contract for the construction of multiple playgrounds around the estate, a project directly managed by the Quadron Kingston team.
The new playgrounds were finally opened in April 2013 and have been a huge hit with the children of the estate who are thrilled to have a safe clean place with modern equipment in which to play.
Quadron looks forward to the annual Green Flag Award preparations as an opportunity to develop and strengthen relationships with Clients and local Green Space users.
Quadron’s team of Horticultural Development Managers have been working closely with Bristol City Council and local user groups this year to prepare entries for Redcatch and Greville Smyth Parks.
As qualified Green Flag judges, Quadron’s Development Team are able to offer invaluable knowledge and expertise, and arranged a bespoke training session on Green Flag judging for the Client’s management team, as well as briefings to ensure operational staff were fully aware of what the judges are looking for.
Quadron’s team also undertook site visits with the Client and liaised with the parks’ Friends groups to bring all the necessary information together into a robust management plan.
Essential to a successful Green Flag application is the complete buy-in from Client, Contractor and, most importantly, Community. In Bristol, Quadron was fortunate to work with two very strong groups in the Friends of Redcatch Park and Friends of Greville Smyth Park, both groups being a true voice for the park users in each area.
Quadron worked with Client officers and the Community to establish event programmes for each park, which are intrinsically linked to the horticultural, biodiversity and infrastructure improvement aspects of the parks’ management plans.
These included woodland bulb planting, the installation of bird boxes and the planting of new trees funded by the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Fund, the Bristol Tree Fund and local developers. Work was carried out by volunteers including the Parks’ Friends, Groundwork, Blue Sky and local Horticultural students.
Quadron’s Development Team has also assisted local groups to submit funding applications, including obtaining £50,000 from the SITA Waste Enhancing Communities Fund for improvements to the tennis courts in Redcatch Park and a successful application to Young Bristol to fund a half term activity scheme.
With Quadron continuing to assist the Council and its stakeholders with further improvements, the relationship between Client, contractor and community looks set to continue to grow stronger.
Quadron views the Green Flag scheme as an excellent opportunity for Client, Contractor and green space users to strengthen their relationship by working together in partnership to improve parks and public open spaces. To this end Horticultural Development Manager, Nicola Clarke, from Quadron and Birmingham City Council Constituency Parks Manager, Simon Cooper, were delighted to work together on a joint bid to enter the park for a Green Flag Award.
The bid was supported by the Friends of Selly Oak Park who have worked tirelessly over the past few years to increase the profile of the park and have successfully made it such an important focus for the local community.
On hearing that the park had been awarded the Green Flag the Chair of the Friends of Selly Oak Park, Andrew Schofield commented: “The Friends of Selly Oak Park are delighted that the park has been recognised an open space of the highest quality. We are grateful to Birmingham City Council and Quadron Services for the continued support for the park and for all the local groups that use the park and help to make it such a vital open space in the Ward.”
The Friends of Selly Oak Park then raised the Green Flag in style by inviting Councillor Karen McCarthy and everyone from the local community to an official Green Flag hoisting event followed by tea, coffee and cakes in the Scout Hut on Gibbins Road. The mood around the flagpole was one of proud satisfaction and pleasure as Councillor McCarthy raised the flag.
“This Award shows that the efforts of officers and the Friends of Selly Oak Park have together given local people a green space of the very highest quality.”
Councillor Karen McCarthy
Working in partnership with local stakeholder groups, Quadron secured £49.5k of funding to renovate the tennis court at Redcatch Park in Bristol
Quadron has been working in partnership with Bristol City Council since 2009 to maintain the parks and green spaces in the south of the city. During this time, Quadron has formed strong relationships with many of the local user groups and works closely with them to support improvement projects and to encourage members of the community to become more involved with their local green spaces.
One such project has involved a major refurbishment of the tennis court in Redcatch Park. Quadron identified the need for improvements while developing the park’s Green Flag management plan on behalf of the City Council. Despite extensive surface damage caused partly by the roots of adjacent leylandii trees, the court remained popular with adults and children of all ages. As the only tennis court within walking distance of a large urban area, it was clear that action was needed to ensure that the court remained a functional, free sports facility for the local community in what is considered to be a deprived area of the city.
Quadron worked with KEY Projects and other community partners in Knowle, Bristol to manage the improvements, including
The project was led by Quadron’s Horticultural Development Manager, Andrew Kauffman, who has managed many similar schemes, as well as being involved in recent community projects based around Redcatch Park. These include helping the Park’s Friends group source funding for planting events and working with local community project support groups, KEY Projects, to arrange sporting activities for young people during school holidays.
During Autumn 2011 quotes were sought for the tennis court improvement works, with Chiltern Sports Contractors submitting the most competitive price of £49.5k, which included removing and renewing the existing fencing, resurfacing the court with an all-weather macadam surface with improved drainage, applying non-slip paint and installing the court fittings. With his experience of sourcing funding for community projects, Quadron’s Andrew Kauffman then investigated the availability of grants that could provide assistance with raising the necessary funds for the work to proceed.
Working on behalf of the community groups, Andrew submitted an application for funding to the SITA Trust, which operates under the Landfill Communities Fund and supports community improvement projects. The application was successful, with the Trust awarding the full £49.5k required, and the community groups were thrilled that the work could now go ahead.
Phase one of the works involved removing the leylandii trees whose roots had caused damage to the court’s surface. Quadron called in its arboricultural partner-subcontractor, Advanced Tree Services (ATS) to assist and during October 2012 their team spent three days safely felling the trees and grinding the stumps. The removal of the trees not only safeguards the new court surface, but has improved natural light on the court and sight lines in this area of the park. Many of the resulting logs have also been retained to use in the park’s wildlife areas to further improve biodiversity.
Once the trees had been removed, Chiltern Sports Contractors were able to access the site to begin the surfacing works. To improve drainage, holes were drilled in the existing surface and back filled with pea gravel. The new all-weather macadam surface could then be laid, leaving a new even playing surface.
The new tennis court was officially opened to the public on 24th September 2013 by the Lord Mayor of Bristol, Cllr Faruk Choudhury.
Speaking on behalf of the community groups involved, Sue Davies, Chair of the Friends of Redcatch Park, commented, “We are thrilled that Redcatch Park is able to offer such high standard tennis courts for free public use.
“Previously we had run-down courts, some closed due to land heave. To rebuild was an aspiration we didn’t think we would be able to realise, but when Quadron and KEY Projects applied to SITA, and they understood the importance to the park and the local community and agreed to fund the work, our dream came true.
“Without SITA funding and the hard work of Quadron Services and KEY Projects, the support of our local community and financial support from the Local Neighbourhood Partnership to match fund the bid, this valuable amenity for Knowle would not have been possible.
“The courts are now in constant use by all ages and every day people say how fantastic it is that they have such an amazing free amenity on their doorstep. Thank you all on behalf of the future tennis champions from Knowle!”
Andrew heads the Quadron Development team and has a BSc in Landscape Management from Reading University.
Andrew commenced as the Horticultural Development Manager on Quadron’s Kingston upon Thames contract in 2007 after spending six years with the London Borough of Hillingdon as a Parks Development Manager, and later Parks Capital Projects Coordinator for Hillingdon Council.
In 2010 Andrew took on the role of Corporate Development Manager, working across Quadron’s client portfolio to develop strategic partnerships with the community and third sector, and developing structured management plans and interventions based on Green Flag principles.
Preeti is a Licentiate Architect with the Landscape Institute and her qualifications include B.Arch and Prince2 Foundation.She joined Quadron after several years working with the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames.
With considerable experience in project management, Preeti focuses on community participation and resident consultation. She works with community groups to develop and improve landscaping schemes, assisting with securing funding and sponsorship.
Nicola has a BSc (Hons) in Horticulture and is a Heart of England in Bloom judge. She has forged strong relationships with many local stakeholder groups in the Midlands and has taken the lead in developing Green Flag management plans.
Nicola has a strong interest in conservation and encouraging biodiversity. She has worked with our clients to implement environmentally friendly working methods, including training Biodiversity Champions on each of Quadron’s contracts, as well as organising community tree planting events, wildlife surveys and clear-ups of communal waste ground.
Andrew joined Quadron in 2012, working as a Team Leader within the London Borough of Southwark. He is City and Guilds qualified in Horticulture as well as Conservation and Volunteer Management. Having worked for 15 years in industry, he has experience of process management, stakeholder engagement and customer service.
Combined with a strong interest in Ecology and working with volunteers, this experience has led Andrew to develop close working relationships with ‘Friends of’ groups and a variety of volunteering organisations, delivering a number of value-added projects.
Based in Croydon's Happy Valley Park, Dominic meets regularly with the local 'Friends of' groups and has a strong interest in conservation and recording and protecting the many protected species that have their home in the park, including a colony of rare dormice.
Dominic works regularly with groups such as the Conservation Volunteers (TCV) to carry out conservation tasks in the park, as well as corporate teams from local business who are looking to fulfil their corporate social responsibility aims. Dominic also worked with local Friends group to introduce an innovative new nature trail through the park, which uses QR codes to provide walkers with information on the history, flora and fauna of the park via their smartphones as they explore this Site of Special Scientific Interest..
"This is the second time we have had the pleasure of giving our time to the Forest School in Holland Park, and on each occasion it has been an amazing experience. Thank you so much!"
"Thank you for taking a Saturday of your own time to put together what turned out to be a hugely successful event. ... You're an amazing team and we hope to have a chance to work together again."
"I would really like to say a special thank you to the team based at Queen's Park. They were such a great support, thinking ahead when it came to planning for the arrival of 250 12 year olds and they ensured the children’s safety on the day."
“It is a pleasure having the Community Payback team working alongside Quadron Services and members of the local community in Croydon.
“It has been great to work with the Quadron teams in flagship parks like Wandsworth Common and Battersea Park."
“We have been delighted with the partnership working with Quadron to support us to make improvements in and around our estates."
"We all agreed at the end of the day it was a real treat to spend the day outdoors, being accompanied by the likes of squirrels, robins, Egyptian geese and parakeets, knowing we were making a difference to the local community and doing our bit for biodiversity.”
"Quadron has given opportunities to our clients/volunteers to obtain basic skills, which has allowed them to move on and get paid jobs and boosted their confidence."
"It's very rewarding working in partnership with an organisation that understands our expectations for Community Payback and that of its service users."
"Quadron Services is enabling long term unemployed candidates to gain meaningful work placements where they are supported to gain practical vocational skills, while at the same time experiencing a real life work environment."
"We have been really pleased that Quadron were able to provide staff, tools, bulbs and seeds to support the event and for arranging Plymouth Probation Team to prepare the bank prior to planting on the day”
"[Quadron is] one of Blue Sky's key commercial clients and increasingly engage with us to add direct social benefit for one of the most excluded sections of society."
"Thanks to team Quadron for again organising the volunteering activities and making it a wonderful day for our team at Hammersmith Park, long may this relationship continue at Hammersmith Park."
"I wanted to express our thanks to you on what was a great day. The team really enjoyed the morning and afternoon sessions and we have had some great feedback."
"Once again, your team has really excelled themselves. Very professional, really supportive of the volunteers, went out of their way to help the volunteers and were a joy to work with."
"It was wonderful to see the enthusiastic volunteers from Burberry in Nunhead Cemetery. ... Thanks to Quadron and particularly the team at Nunhead Cemetery for organising the day."
"I would like to say a huge thank you for being so supportive with our volunteer day at Wormwood Scrubs. We really couldn’t have asked for better support."
“A massive thank you to Quadron and the team who attended on Saturday from Exeter Community Rehabilitation Company.
They worked really hard all day, and the results were clear to all. It couldn’t have been done without them, and everyone’s input was very much appreciated."
"I recently completed a volunteering day at Peckham Rye Park. The day was organised by my organisation, JLL and it was received well by all."
“We thoroughly enjoyed the day at Nunhead Cemetery ... The sense of team work and achievement at the end of the day was brilliant and we will certainly be back.”
"We loved the day, I’ve had nothing but good feedback from everyone, even the weeders! We will certainly be looking at other opportunities to work with you again on future away days when time allows."
"This is just a huge thank you from the BTFL team to all of you who have helped us at our tree planting events this season. ... We couldn't have done it without you all!"
“We took this on not really knowing what we were letting ourselves in for, but just wanting to put something back into the community. ... Our people raved about it to colleagues when they got back to work and now everyone wants to do it next year.”
"Thanks also to Quadron for their support and managing such events on contract and the donation of materials from RHS Hampton Court all helping to liven up the courtyard and improve patient and staff experience in the hospital”
“As a small community, we would like to say a big thank you to both Quadron and Affinity Sutton for their support in helping us to create and maintain tidy and pleasant surroundings. With their support we have been able to come together as a community"
"The volunteers all enjoyed themselves and, like me, would like to share their thanks for the help of you and your team.”
"Thank you to you and your colleagues for all the support you have offered to our entry into the Thames & Chilterns in Bloom competition. ... To have such partners is crucial when trying to make an impact on something like this competition.”
“It has been a pleasure working with you all at Quadron and we are delighted that so many people have been given the opportunity to get some experience, build a work history and start to turn their lives around.”
“Many thanks for all your hard work in making the day such a success, it is really appreciated. I think the whole team enjoyed the day; much of that was down to the guys from Quadron Services.”
"Volunteering through our Mars in the Community Scheme, with the help of SBCP and Quadron, gave everyone in our team the opportunity to make a real difference for the staff and patients who will hopefully soon be enjoying the revamped garden.”
"Just wanted to send a great big thank you to everyone for all your efforts at the Nelson Close Community Day. I think you will agree it was a very successful event and really does show what can be achieved with cross partnership working."
“What a difference this will make for the children and families to look out onto a changing view rather than the cars in the car park. We are really grateful and appreciate all the hard work from the team and are looking forward to the spring to see the bulbs and the wild flowers."
“The RHS and, in particular the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show Team, would like to thank Quadron for their support managing this year’s re-use scheme. Quadron’s support has helped to ensure that community projects across London will benefit from additional horticultural materials."
“The Friends of Grange Park Play Area would like to extend their sincere thanks to Quadron Services for their generous support in helping us to hold our Autumn Bulb Planting Event, ... This dedication in the corporate world, speaking from my own experience, is unique.”
"In terms of working with Quadron, I can tell you that I’ve genuinely found it to be a great relationship, giving us access to challenging, engaging and rewarding projects for corporate volunteers which provide a real sense of achievement at the end of the day."
Quadron has forged successful relationships with many organisations to offer a range of expertise and opportunities to its clients.
Hands on London is a registered charity that acts as an intermediary between not-for-profits, charities, community groups and volunteers (both individuals and corporates). They offer flexible and diverse volunteering opportunities across Greater London and Quadron is pleased to be able to partner with the charity to offer volunteering opportunities in a number of London Parks.
“In terms of working with Quadron, I’ve genuinely found it to be a great relationship, giving us access to challenging, engaging and rewarding projects for corporate volunteers which provide a real sense of achievement at the end of the day. You’re probably one of our favourite partners to work with on projects because everything is set up and ready for us when we arrive and we get expert help with any of the tricky bits, plus talks on the tools and equipment we’re about to use. ” – David Bulmer, Chief Executive Officer, Hands on London
For further information on Hands on London, see their website: www.handsonlondon.org.uk
Groundwork aims to see a society of sustainable communities which are vibrant, healthy and safe, which respect the local and global environment and where individuals and enterprise prosper. Groundwork’s approach is to start local, put the right tools in people’s hands and engage with everyone who has a stake in a place to address as many issues as possible with the same investment.
Quadron has worked in partnership with Groundwork since 2008 to provide work experience and placements to the long-term unemployed. Groundwork has also assisted with recruiting and training a number of Quadron’s horticultural apprentices, many of whom have continued their careers with Quadron.
“Where Quadron managers were able to take on staff, they did; whether it was a placement or a vacancy they still helped our people find jobs. The Quadron contract made training and help available to people who would not be able to access it elsewhere.” – Lucy Hand, Green Skills Officer, Groundwork London.
For further information on Groundwork, see their website: www.groundwork.org.uk
Thrive is the leading charity in the UK that uses gardening to bring about positive changes in the lives of people who are living with disabilities or ill health, or are isolated, disadvantaged or vulnerable.
Quadron has supported Thrive’s social and therapeutic horticulture (STH) programmes by providing work experience and placement opportunities on its London contracts. Such placements have given participants on Thrive’s ‘Working it Out’ and similar schemes opportunities to try horticultural work in order to gain confidence and experience, as well as benefit from on-the-job skills training.
For further information on Thrive, see their website: www.thrive.org.uk
TCV began in 1959 with a vision to involve volunteers in practical conservation work with a training and education remit. By working with local people and communities and enabling them to take day-to-day responsibility for their outdoor spaces they help tackle social exclusion, increase local knowledge and expertise, improve the environment and help communities to thrive and become sustainable.
TCV worked with Quadron to develop a bespoke Work Based Environmental Conservation Programme which has been delivered to Quadron staff to enable them to deliver conservation related activities to a range of volunteer groups, including corporate teams and local ‘Friends of’ groups.
For further information on The Conservation Volunteers, see their website: www.tcv.org.uk
TimeBank is a national volunteering charity which recruits and trains volunteers to deliver mentoring projects to tackle complex social problems. TimeBank also works with businesses to engage their staff in volunteering. Quadron is working with TimeBank to provide opportunities for corporate volunteering teams to carry out horticultural and conservation activities in parks and green spaces in London and the Midlands.
For further information on TimeBank, see their website: www.timebank.org.uk
The charity, Blue Sky, aims to break ex-offenders’ cycle of re-offending by employing and training teams of ex-offenders and offering them as an alternative to agency labour in a range of industries, such as environmental services and grounds maintenance. Quadron has utilised several Blue Sky teams on its grounds maintenance contracts in recent years to help manage the seasonal peak workload. Many of the Blue Sky participants have successfully gained recognised horticultural grounds maintenance qualifications during their time working with Quadron, with a number going on to work directly for Quadron as apprentices or in seasonal positions.
“It has been a pleasure working with you all at Quadron and we are delighted that so many people have been given the opportunity to get some experience, build a work history and start to turn their lives around.” – John Chesters, Commercial & Development Director, Blue Sky.
For further information on Blue Sky, see their website: www.blueskydevelopment.co.uk
Get Set UK is an employability provider that seeks to place unemployed candidates into work placement positions so that they can gain the skills that will help them secure sustainable employment and move away from dependence on benefits.
Quadron began working with Get Set UK in October 2015 when the company agreed to offer a range of horticultural and sports related work-place volunteer opportunities to Get Set candidates, initially on Quadron's contract with Wandsworth Borough Council.
"Get Set is very excited to be working in partnership with Quadron Services Wandsworth. Quadron Services is enabling long term unemployed candidates to gain meaningful work placements where they are supported to gain practical vocational skills, while at the same time experiencing a real life work environment." - Mohamed Awale, Get Set UK Senior Personal Advisor
For further information on Get Set UK, see their website: www.getsetuk.co.uk