VolkerRail and VolkerFitzpatrick come together to renovate shelter

Over three days in September, team members from VolkerRail and VolkerFitzpatrick joined forces to renovate areas of the Holy Trinity Winter Night Shelter, in Bishop Stortford.

BS night shelter - completed garden.jpg
BS night shelter - completed garden.jpg

Holy Trinity provides a winter refuge for local homeless people and also helps support those struggling and those who may become homeless, including families. Although the inside of the centre had been refurbished recently, the outside had become overgrown and unusable.

After becoming aware of the needs of the shelter, both companies offered to help revitalise the garden, and together, donated the materials needed to rejuvenate the outdoor space, undertaking over 100 hours of volunteering, to complete major de-vegetation works, a new patio, steps and raised flower beds, and restoring the garden’s fencing.

The team also helped complete some of the final renovations inside the shelter, including donating new beds for the residents, smartening up the front entrance and porch, painting the volunteer sleepover spaces, and fitting accessories in the social area.

David Perry, manager at the Holy Trinity Winter Night Shelter, said: “We are so thankful to the volunteers for helping our shelter. It’s true to say that the garden before was completely unusable, so this is more than a renovation; it has created an entirely new space. We know it will really boost the morale of those who come to stay and will help make them feel welcome and valued. We’re also hoping that these improvements will help attract overnight volunteers to support the ongoing work in the centre.”

The renovated outside area is now a restful retreat, and provides space for a community garden, a seating area with patio and a designated smoking shelter.

Eddie Lenton, VolkerRail project manager, said: “There’s something really special about our people coming together, outside of any commitments to a project, to help a community, because, quite simply, it needs our help and we’ve got the tools to do the job. Thanks so much to all the volunteers who came together from both businesses to help the night shelter – they should be really proud.”

Lee Clifton, VolkerFitzpatrick contracts manager, said: “It’s been fantastic to see how employees from VolkerFitzpatrick and VolkerRail have come together, to help support this community shelter. The people using this centre are in a stressful and difficult time in their lives, so we hope that this new garden will give them a peaceful retreat. It’s rewarding for our team to see how their efforts will make a difference to this shelter, that provides a vital service for the community.”

This is a shining example of how VolkerWessels UK is seeking to deliver long-term social value through charity, volunteering and community engagement, establishing meaningful relationships with charitable bodies and local communities – in line with the commitment set out in its People-Planet-Purpose Sustainability framework that 2020-2030 will be its ‘Decade of Action’.

The team will continue to support the shelter throughout winter, with VolkerRail donating a further £500 through its charitable donations fund, which will help go towards new plants for the garden and other essential items.