Lincolnshire County Council highways team volunteer to help communities

Amazing volunteer work is being done by the county council's Highways team and its contract partners to help out communities.

The area outside Timberland Village Hall before the work was done.
The area outside Timberland Village Hall before the work was done.

It is National Volunteer Week and that means it is a great time to help out others in your community.

You might not know it, but Lincolnshire County Council has been delivering help to residents and communities for some months now with its Councillor Volunteer Scheme and it has been the smaller jobs that have made a big difference.

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As part of the LCC Councillor Volunteer Scheme, where local councillors work with their community to identify and then submit proposals for jobs in the area, these projects were completed by LCC and various companies who carry out the work for the council.

Normally these companies are more used to working on much larger-scale jobs on much grander platforms, but through the CVS they can scale down a bit and donate their time and labour to volunteer for those areas that need it. These projects only cost what the materials cost – labour is donated by the CVS volunteers for free.

The jobs they do with the CVS can vary enormously from clearing out trees and hedgerows on a lay-by to building paths around a community hall. Every hour donated by the CVS volunteers goes to making communities better.

Recently LCC, Balfour Beatty and Maplebeck Tree Services undertook a second phase of village hall improvements in Timberland. Maplebeck Tree Services took down a tree and the Balfour Beatty crew then re-laid slabs and tidied the area for better fire exit access.

The proposal for the works to be carried out came from Kevin Will who applied to the CVS on behalf of the village hall, through local County Councillor Robert Kendrick.

Once the works were completed, Mr Will said: “The outside of the hall looks absolutely amazing. The team have done a fabulous job. There is so much light now that the tree has gone and we now have a flat surface to use. Truly amazing. Thank you to the team for all their help and support, it is very much appreciated.

“The CVS is a fabulous scheme that the council is running and I hope that other causes can continue to benefit from it as we have.”

Coun Kendrick added: “I was pleased to support the application from Timberland for volunteer community service from our Highways contractors.

“This has been an excellent example of positive community engagement between the village hall, Lincolnshire Highways and our contractors. The works undertaken have really enhanced the exterior of the village hall”.

The tree work on this scheme involved much more than just trimming a tree, Maplebeck’s crew had to remove an ash tree that was in close proximity to the hall and was so overgrown that it had been causing issues with an adjacent power line. What started out as a small project to shift the tree ended up being a fantastic collaborative effort between Maplebeck Tree Care, Balfour Beatty, Lincolnshire County Council and Western Power distribution. All stakeholders came together to coordinate the works needed to ensure a safe removal of the tree.

Tidying up a playpark and giving it a new lease of life for local children is another great example of the Councillor Volunteer Scheme – and at Caistor it saw the combined efforts of many people and many hours working hard to make things happen.

Caistor Town Council asked for help with tidying up three of their playparks with the idea submitted to the CVS via Coun Tom Smith.

LCC contractor partners WSP led on the scheme with assistance from another LCC contractor, Colas.

Richard Hardesty, WSP Commission Manager said the team thoroughly enjoyed transforming the playground equipment for the local community: “Everyone seems genuinely delighted to see bright new colours being applied to the equipment.”

Coun Smith thanked all those who volunteered and made the scheme a success: “Without everyone giving up their time it would not have happened and by doing so a real difference has been made.”

Contract partner Colas said: “It was great to get involved with a worthwhile project for the community and see what could be achieved by a well-motivated bunch as well as getting to know some of the other people in the alliance, thoroughly looking forward to being involved with the next project.”

Caistor Town Council said: “The scheme is an excellent way to bring benefits to a local community that would ordinarily be hard to achieve. Our play areas in Caistor are well used. Brightening and refreshing these areas does so much for the well-being of our residents, and particularly children in this case.

“The volunteers worked tirelessly to complete the project and we and our residents are very grateful for them giving up their time to help our community.”

You do not have to wait until the next National Volunteer Week to think about how LCC and its contractors could help your area. If there is something that you think would benefit from the free labour and expertise of the Councillor Volunteer Scheme, then let your local councillor know and it could be submitted to the council for future inclusion in the many projects going on all across the county.

Coun Richard Davies, executive member for Highways at LCC said: “These are terrific examples of what we can achieve with the CVS and the goodwill of our contractors.

“It’s National Volunteer Week right now, but these works and our scheme can happen all through the year. We’ve only just started with the scheme and it’s such a positive thing that we in Highways can implement to various communities.

“I’d encourage everyone to speak to their local councillor should they have anything like these examples of works that need doing in their community. By going through the councillors these brilliant ideas get submitted to the CVS and may well be included in our future plans.”