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Balfour Beatty Watchtree Volunteer Day

Posted August 5, 2022 by Steph

Staff members from Balfour Beatty organised a Community Volunteer Day in aid of Watchtree Nature Reserve on Friday 5th August 2022. 39 employees of Balfour Beatty, Capita, Electricity North West, Trait Groundwork, Sunbelt Rentals and UK Electrical Services joined forces with Watchtree Estates Team Volunteers for the day to work on projects on the reserve. In a theme reminiscent of TV programme ‘DIY SOS’, the teams planned to dramatically transform specific areas of Watchtree within a short space of time.  

The day was particularly poignant, as the project had initially been instigated by Balfour Beatty employee Grant Taylor, who sadly passed away earlier this year at the age of 22. In February, Grant and his colleagues had worked out a programme of works to improve areas of the reserve on a charitable basis – Balfour Beatty are encouraged to regularly support community projects so could help with their civil engineering expertise and machinery. Grant’s parents, Kevin and Tracey Taylor were also on hand to assist the team today, as well as Grant’s lifelong best friend, Dylan Atkinson from Capita.  

Projects for the day included digging and laying out a new replacement pond complex, resurfacing pathways surrounding Watchtree’s Elemental Garden to make them more accessible, painting buildings and fencing, surfacing a new pergola project to enable full access for visitors and sensory flower planting within their ‘Quiet Garden’. This project had been developed in mind of visitors with dementia, who will be able to enjoy the smell of distinctive flowers in a quiet environment. Dementia UK was another charity close to Grant’s heart and he was a regular donator.  

His mum Tracey said: “Grant’s grandfather would visit Watchtree on their weekly ‘Walking for Health’ walks. As a dementia patient he found the smooth paths of the reserve easier to walk on as his condition worsened. This is one of the reasons Grant nominated Watchtree as somewhere that would benefit from Balfour Beatty’s help. ”  

John Turner, Network Manager for Balfour Beatty and overall project manager said: “Today is a community volunteer day helping an important local community asset and at the same time, a social and team day. We have all been affected by the loss of Grant – as shown by the amount of support here today.  The aim of the day was to ‘work hard, have fun’, which was Grant’s philosophy. He will be a difficult act to follow – he was very social and would have been dipping in and out all the projects today, making sure everyone was ok. ”  

It is hoped that the event at Watchtree will become an annual event in and around 7th August, to commemorate the date Grant joined the Balfour Beatty workforce and enable the work carried out today to be maintained.  

Watchtree Estates and Habitats Team Leader David Hall said: “It is fantastic to have Balfour Beatty and their expertise and equipment on hand today to complement the fantastic work carried out by our Estates team of volunteers. It has enabled us to progress with some of our projects far more quickly than we could have hoped. “ 

Watchtree Nature Reserve is a registered charity with a mission to provide a nature reserve haven for a wide range of habitats and species. It is a community asset for people to enjoy, appreciate and be educated in the values of living with wildlife and nature. Watchtree Wheelers offer specialist cycle facilities, equipment and training for the public and group use boasting a range of adapted equipment for disabled riders as well as cycle skills training for new riders of all abilities. 

 Media contact: Stephanie Norman 01228 712539; 07739 315 291; marketing@watchtree.co.uk 

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