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Skanska employees construct a woodland amphitheatre for children with special educational needs

Ipswich-based Skanska employees have been getting their hands dirty in support of a local charity by building a woodland amphitheatre for children’s interactive story telling, musical performances and drama.

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Working with Eden-Rose Coppice Trust, a charity that provides respite for people with cancer, outdoor fun and educational programmes for children including those with special educational needs and outdoor volunteering opportunities for the local community, the team of 11 spent three days at Brickmakers Wood, next to Alexandra Park, helping to transform the neglected and misused woodland in the centre of Ipswich.

One of Community Action Suffolk’s roles is to connect local charities with local business. CAS supports employers to bring together their workforce and donate some volunteering time to good causes. Skanska, one of the world’s leading project development and construction groups showed what their employees could do by turning Jo Brooks, the manager of Brickmakers Wood’s dream into a reality. Jo said:

“Our woodland management plan is designed to create habitats in order to increase biodiversity. However, it’s also important that Brickmakers Wood has areas that are original, usable and stimulating. We provide support for a wide variety of people from the local area and the invaluable help from Skanska directly supports them.

“As a small but growing charity at the start of a new project, we were thrilled when Jo Belfield from Community Action Suffolk (CAS) connected us to one of UK’s largest construction companies, Skanska, who wanted to do some corporate volunteering in Ipswich. It is so difficult for smaller charities with turnovers of less than £100,000 to find companies that are willing to give up their time to less known charities, who are arguably the ones that need the help most at the start of their projects.

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“We had such a successful pairing from CAS and our volunteering team were amazing from start to finish. CAS were incredibly professional yet friendly throughout the collaboration, with regular emails and phone calls to check on the progress of the pairing. Their commitment to local charities is exceptional… outstanding support for the charity sector.”

The unique woodland amphitheatre, built by Skanska employees, with turf donated by Sovereign Turf Company (the same suppliers for Ipswich Town Football Club) offers the perfect setting for performances for children including those with special needs, group talks, music therapy and more.

Jacquie Leppard, one of the Skanska employees that took part in creating the amphitheatre, was so blown away by Brickmakers Wood’s fantastic project that she is running a 10k race in Colchester on the 8 May 2016 to help raise important funds that will allow them to create wheelchair friendly pathways, allowing public access on certain days to the wood.

To donate to Jacquie’s 10k run, visit her Local Giving fundraising page.

For more information on Brickmaker’s Wood visit their website, or contact [email protected].

If your business would like to volunteer for a local cause, or your community organisation would like a team of volunteers to help with a project, contact Jo at Community Action Suffolk:

Jo Belfield
Volunteering Field Officer
[email protected]
07990 576893