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Brent Cross West team help schools go green

June 21, 2022

Now more than ever we all know how important green space is and the positive impact it can have on our health and wellbeing.

Set around 50 acres of green parks and playing fields, providing quality green space in the places people live and work is at the heart of the transformation of Brent Cross Cricklewood. This programme also includes the redevelopment of three local schools and the construction of a new mainline station Brent Cross West. The station is being led by Barnet Council and built by VolkerFitzpatrick.

But there is more to this than just bricks and mortar.

Recently, the Brent Cross West station team, led by VolkerFitzpatrick supported two local activities that will benefit Barnet’s natural environment and nurture its youngest residents.

In the first project, in collaboration with charity GROW, VolkerFitzpatrick and ASM Rail dug a large new pond in the grounds of the six-acre farm and outdoor learning hub adjacent to Totteridge Academy. The new pond will encourage biodiversity and provide additional drainage to help combat flooding, as it is set in a naturally low-level area. Later in the year, new hedging will be added, and a beehive garden area planted thanks to the team’s fundraising efforts that have already raised over £1,000.

Injesh Khadka, social value adviser at VolkerFitzpatrick said: It was a similar story over at GROW and Totteridge Academy. Through discussions with the charity, we identified a need for better drainage. Having the tools to do the job – we offered to lend a hand. The pond will be a great addition to GROW’s land, helping to increase the biodiversity and providing an even richer environment for the school children to get involved with.”

Meanwhile, at Whitefield School, an unused patch outside was transformed into a beautiful new breakout space for teachers and pupils aged 11-18 to enjoy. Repurposing spare timber kindly donated from other projects, the decked area is now a practical and picturesque place to study, relax and meet friends. The VolkerFitzpatrick team worked alongside MACE on the project, while materials and supplies were donated by PLS Civil Engineering, Carver Engineering Ltd, Oliver Connell Construction and VolkerFitzpatrick

Dave Goodey, senior works manager at VolkerFitzpatrick said: We’re always looking for ways to support the local communities in which we work, so when we saw this underused area of the Whitefield’s School, and we knew we had leftover quality timber, it was a no brainer to suggest decking to create a new social space. Everyone came together on the day and worked hard in a short space of time to deliver a brilliant area for the kids and teachers to relax and enjoy for years to come.”

Elizabeth Rymer, Head Teacher at Whitefield School, added: “We are so grateful to all the companies that have supported us so far with the creation of our new Sensory Garden. Having an attractive and relaxing space like this will be very beneficial to our whole community. Supporting the mental health and well being of all our students and staff has always been a priority for Whitefield School. This has become even more key now as we emerge from the Covid pandemic. Schools do not just educate students to pass exams. Schools play a pivotal role in supporting the development of social and emotional skills which are essential for us to be successful in life. So many of us have faced considerable personal challenges and loss across the last two and a half years. The timing of this new build could not have come at a better time for us. I know the garden will be well used. The whole team constructing the garden were great to work with, keeping us updated on the progress and involving students where possible so everyone could be feel part of this exciting project. An area of the garden will also be planted as a memorial to staff and students who we have sadly passed away in recent years.”

Find out more about Brent Cross Cricklewood programme here, and the new Brent Cross West station here.