Project case study - Volunteering

Volunteering is an excellent way to make a difference within the local community and offers opportunities for team building and both personal and professional development.

The project team got involved with several great local causes and made a real difference by providing 50 days of volunteering during the construction period of the A9 Dualling: Luncarty to Pass of Birnam project.

Fairview School – Garden Renovation

Fairview School is Perth and Kinross Council’s Additional Support Needs school for children and young people with severe, complex, and enduring additional support needs. The school caters for pupils with severe social communication difficulties including those on the autistic spectrum. Balfour Beatty, the contractor for the project was contacted in 2019 by the school looking for assistance with a project. 

The A9 Dualling project team with members from Balfour Beatty, design consultants, Jacobs UK and Transport Scotland attended Fairview School to undertake landscaping works to make the schools garden area more accessible and attractive for students and their families.

Matthew and Michelle shovelling bark
Matthew and Michelle shovelling bark

The work involved:

  • An initial donation of 10 tons of wood chippings recycled from site;
  • Preparation of ground and weeding;
  • Laying edging;
  • Transporting and spreading wood chips;
  • Planting approximately 30 trees;
  • Weeding mono block paths; and
  • Trimming more than 100m of hedge and bushes

After hours of hard work, the team completed a remarkable transformation of the school grounds. Impromptu work was added when the team discovered a bee’s hive in the garden and erected an exclusion fence to protect both the children and the bees.

The volunteering team in front of a freshly landscaped garden
The volunteering team and the results of their hard work

Special thanks go to all who volunteered:

  • Gemma Patterson, Chris Smith, Michelle Holton and Gary Tait, Chris Bone – Transport Scotland
  • Matthew Boyle – Jacobs UK
  • Ken Brown, Ewan Park, Charlie Holland, Kari Sprostranova, David Landles, Cameron Stevenson, Iain Robertson, Alan Purves, Billy Jackson, Alan McCorquodale - Balfour Beatty

Stanley Men’s Shed – Community Orchard

A Men’s Shed is a place open to all men over the age of eighteen, run on a voluntary basis, where the members can socialise and work on projects and hobbies.

The Stanley Men’s Shed boasts a range of fantastic facilities at Stanley Mill which includes everything from woodwork and metalwork workshops to an extensive Information Technology (IT) suite with technology including 3D printing.

The team of volunteers with the Stanley ‘Shedders’ outside Stanley Mill
The team of volunteers with the Stanley ‘Shedders’ outside Stanley Mill

Stanley Men’s Shed was working with Historic Environment Scotland (HES) to plant a community orchard in land surrounding the car park at Stanley Mill where the group regularly meet.

Agreement in principle for the orchard project was successfully gained, but progress had stalled over the requirement to test the soil for pollutants at the proposed location.

The project team were able to assist with this specialist requirement and spent a day at Stanley Mill collecting soil samples which were then sent to a laboratory to be tested.

A team of 8 project staff from Balfour Beatty and Transport Scotland attended on the day equipped with picks, shovels and sample boxes to undertake the sampling regime. The area was divided into a grid square with 9 samples being required from each square. The samples were then sent on to our partner lab, DETS, for analysis.

The data was returned to the Men’s Shed a few weeks later and, taken against benchmarks used for testing garden soils in housebuilding contracts, the soil was cleared as safe for the proposed purpose.

Since then, the Men’s Shed have progressed their project, advertising tree sponsorship in local shops and planting in Spring 2020.

Michelle Holton, holding a tablet computer and interviewing Alex Cockburn
Shed Chairman, Alex Cockburn, being interviewed by Michelle Holton, Transport Scotland

Alex Cockburn, Chair of the Stanley Men’s Shed, added:

Men’s Sheds offer a place to relax and socialise over a cup of tea or coffee, with new or old friends, create or learn a new skill, for yourself or the benefit of the local community."

“We have a fantastic facility here at Stanley Mill and we would welcome new members to come and join us.”

“We had a meeting with Historic Environment Scotland the other day and they were flabbergasted to see the progress we had made with the help of the Luncarty to Pass of Birnam project team.”

Auchtergaven Primary School – Outdoor Classroom

School engagement has been at the forefront of the A9 Dualling: Luncarty to Pass of Birnam project from the outset and during the challenges posed by Covid19, our support was as important as ever.

Volunteers enjoying a tea break outside the school building
A quick tea break for some of our hardworking volunteers!

Schools quickly had to adapt the way they operated to keep pupils and staff safe, with many children spending more time outdoors. Auchtergaven Primary School in Bankfoot contacted the project team for assistance to improve their outdoor space, allowing them to use it more freely during the winter months.

The outdoor classroom is a great resource for the school, but the paths surrounding it were badly in need of improvement. One of the project’s subcontractors, Breedon Group, generously donated more than £1,000 worth of gravel and delivered it to the school to improve access around the structure.

An outdoor classroom, with newly laid gravel pathways outside it
The works made a huge difference to the accessibility of the outdoor classroom area

A small team of project volunteers spent the morning in the school grounds, transporting the gravel by wheelbarrow to the outdoor classroom while others spent time sprucing up the nursey garden.

Reconomy, the project’s waste management supplier donated the use of a skip to allow the school to dispose of old planters and equipment being stored in the playground to make more space for the pupils to play.