As dawn broke over T5 a 20-strong advance party of hardened volunteers from across Heathrow Airport descended on Green Corridor through the early morning mist. Armed only with their packed lunches, safety boots and gloves they spilt into three smaller assault groups and started to prepare the ground for the main volunteer invasion force due in early May.
After a thorough health and safety briefing and agreed objectives for the day, and armed only with goggles, gloves and crowbars, group one attacked the donated industrial wooden pallets breaking them into planks that will be remade as raised beds for vegetables and heathland plants.
Loving the smell of bare earth in the morning, group two mixed up native wildflower seeds, kindly donated by Kew Gardens, (cornflower, meadow buttercup, red campion, oxeye daisy etc.) with sharp sand to broadcast across the earth bund surrounding the site.
Commencing “operation car park” group three rolled out some reclaimed weed barrier and started laying woodchip 6ins deep across the membrane.
After rotating around each 90-minute task our gallant volunteers still found the time and energy to cart three heavy wooden pallets across the site to create the base for housing four new beehives.
At a post operation debrief words like “fun”, “proud” and “cake” were offset against “exhausted”, “tired” and “ache” but all agreed it was a thoroughly great start to this 18-month environmental project.
Same again next Friday!
Green Corridor is delighted to host a new employee volunteering project over the next 18 months and it’s our biggest yet! This first post will tell you a little about the project but there will be lots of updates along the way!
This local regeneration project adjacent to our Learning and Development Centre will involve the full transformation of approx. 2.5 acres of scrubland into a vibrant growing space with wildflowers, fruit, vegetables and native heathland. This project offers a unique opportunity to regenerate part of the local environment and link together a range of projects around Heathrow Airport. In addition this initiative will afford our young people with special educational needs and learning differences the opportunity to help plant, grow and harvest a much greater volume and wider variety of produce that will broaden their learning experience.
The first group of Heathrow T5 Security volunteers are scheduled to start volunteering on site in early April and we are all really excited to see what transformations take place! With over 1,500 staff in groups of 20 donating their time every Friday over the next 18 months, in total an amazing 10,000 hours of work will be put into this project.
We hope to continue to reuse and recycle as many local products as possible, firstly by re-using soil to make wildflower bunds around the site. Shortly we will be laying paths made from the woodchip from felled scrubland and creation of the first of many raised planting beds and beehive platforms from donated wooden pallets and rafts.
Depending of the skills set, interests and aspirations of each security team volunteer group we will be offering a wide variety of fully supervised volunteering tasks that will include:
- Scrub clearance, site levelling and composting;
- Soil improvement and conditioning;
- Creation of wildflower meadows and bunds;
- Construction of raised beds, planting, nurturing and harvesting crops;
- Hedgerow replanting and in-filling;
- Installation of bee hives for crop pollination;
- Establishment of heathland plant and native tree nurseries;
- Creation of hard landscaping features, paths, composters and garden furniture;
- Making bee hotels, bird and bat boxes; hedgehog houses;
- Community training and celebration events;
- Pop-up stall at local farmer’s markets and shopping malls to raise awareness / sell produce;
- Story writing and promotion materials e.g. web pages / photo montages / poster / leaflet design etc.
Thanks to the support and hard work from JSA the scrub clearance and site preparation is already well underway!