Thursday, 28th September 2017
Our trainees helping to build a future
The 2017 trip to Swaziland for the “Build A Future” project run by All Out Africa, consisted of Amy Arnold, Andrew Provost, Benny Feddon, Jack Duggan, James Ananthakumar, James Buchan, Ollie Davis and Erica Denman.
Prior to departure the team raised £5,487 for the trip. Some of this money was donated to All Out Africa, some spent on materials for the building project and the rest was spent on books, shoes, stationary and toys for donation to the kids at the NCPs. Over the past 13 years, All Out Africa, their superb builder Michael and an army of volunteers, have built six Neighbourhood Care Points (NCPs). These are mostly in rural areas and serve as a centre for local orphaned and vulnerable kids to come and eat, play and get pre-school education. Each NCP has a classroom, toilets and kitchens with the larger ones having play areas and shelters. Women from the local community teach the kids every morning and are often assisted by volunteers from around the world through All Out Africa. There are now about three hundred kids attending such NCPs.
THE TOUR – A RECAP FROM TOUR LEADER, ERICA DENMAN:
Our time at London Heathrow was considerably improved by the appearance of Jack and Ollie who had schlepped halfway across London with their own suitcases plus two huge, and somewhat rickety, bags of the sort preferred by your market trader peddling goods on the street and not at all suitable for a long haul flight! After repacking their items for donation into more secure cases we checked in and settled down for an eleven hour flight to Johannesburg followed by a four hour bus transfer to Swaziland. The boredom of the transfer was alleviated somewhat by a cheeky Nandos located by a watering hole where, among other things, zebras, rhinos, wildebeast and ostriches were drinking, or perhaps just watching us at the equivalent of our watering hole?
Our first day consisted of an introduction to the project we would be working on, followed by a walking tour of the local area and finishing with a braai in the village. For the first time in four years this trip took place in September which meant we could witness the Reed Dance. All the women in Swaziland are invited to attend the Reed Dance where they sing, dance and carry a bunch of reeds in a huge parade for the King. During this ceremony the King can then choose his bride for the year. There are conflicting reports but he currently has between eleven and fifteen wives.
After this unique introduction to Swaziland, we started work at the Nkhanini NCP. In 2015 a Walter Lilly group started the construction of the classroom, kitchen, shelter and toilets here. By 2017 three of those buildings were finished, along with some swings and a seesaw, and about 15 local kids are regularly attending classes. Our task for this trip was to complete the shelter for the kids to eat and play in during their morning break. Given that the temperatures were averaging 35 – 37 degrees I am not sure if we, or the kids, were looking forward to the completed shelter more!
The team were exceedingly pleased to see that the foundations had already been dug by the 2015 group, but in two years a lot of grass had grown, so we still had quite a job clearing the trenches and removing the top layer of soil (it hasn’t rained in seven months so the ground was quite compact). By mid morning we had a beautiful surface on which to start the build. We mixed up the first batch of concrete (using spades and wheelbarrows only) for the foundations and then laid our first few lines of blocks.
Using a string line and tape measure (who needs paperwork, setting out and datums?) we set out the timber posts which would hold the roof. We then placed them in blocks, poured concrete around the posts and set up a cunning arrangement of pickaxes, rakes and blocks to hold everything in place whilst the concrete dried.
By the end of day two we had made good progress with the blocks (some hidden talents in bricklaying were discovered) and, more importantly, our concrete mixes were improving in quality – as we discovered the ideal consistency looks much like a runny cow pat.
Next up was levelling the ground to create a pathway around the building. Cue some impressive / sweaty pickaxe action from the boys, with a well earned rest after.
By day four we had finished the walls and started on the roof. We constructed the structure of the roof with timber beams then nailed down sheets of corrugated iron to finish.
The roof was up, walls were done, now it was time for the weekend where we would be staying up in the hills in a nature reserve called Malolotja. Our Saturday night started with a beautiful sunset and finished around a bonfire and huge barbeque, all setting us up nicely for our zip lining trip on the Sunday.
On Monday we started levelling the floor inside our shelter, laying the blocks for the seats and laid a smooth finish to the walls. A full on debate, with Benny as our model, followed when it was discovered we could layout the seating any which way we wanted.
On Tuesday the kids were at the NCP for the start of their new term…they welcomed us with constant cuddles and we then handed out shoes, sunglasses, books, pens and paper. There were some toys in our goody bags but by far the most popular gifts were the bubbles (and not just with the kids). Other popular activities included climbing all over us at every opportunity, wearing our sunglasses and having their picture taken.
Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons saw us at Homework Club. This has been running for a couple of years now and gives the kids a chance to go through their reading and maths in a more structured environment than that which they might have at home. Or indeed, simply a chance to challenge (and beat) Jack to some press-ups.
By the end of the two weeks we had completed the structure, with rather fetching seating and a gravel floor finish. Our last task was the Walter Lilly logo which was beautifully crafted by the team using a t-shirt, ruler, block of wood and some stones. Everyone can be very proud of their hard work in sweltering conditions (an African heatwave puts ours to shame). The team worked exceptionally well together to produce another fine build, completed ahead of schedule and with some very happy clients to boot!
For more photos of the trip, visit our facebook or flikr page.
Friday, 23rd June 2017
School kids experience a day in construction
On Tuesday 13th June, a group of Year 6 students from the Oasis Academy Byron in Coulson visited the Walter Lilly head office in East Croydon to spend the day learning and working as a team in construction.
Organised by Enabling Enterprise, the students have engaged in a range of projects, including designing and launching a new chocolate brand and designing a transport prototype that would be suitable for the year 3030!
So far this year, students have completed the Future Transport challenge day, when they researched, designed, built and tested innovative new forms of transport. A visit to Walter Lilly was a chance for the Year 6 students to venture out of school to apply skills such as Aiming High and Working in a Team.
Six Walter Lilly staff from different departments of the company, including Managing Director Andrew Crispin, joined Oasis Academy Byron students for the day, supporting them in their construction-themed challenge.
The kids were set with a task to address the area of Bogsby which has an empty brownfield site in the centre of the community. The challenge was to redevelop the land and create a space that would benefit the local people and the environment. Before sharing ideas and deciding on what they were going to construct, teams needed to look at the needs of the people of Bogsby and ensure that the new development was environmentally friendly. After building a model of their planned building, the teams ended the day by presenting their ideas to a judging panel of Walter Lilly and Enabling Enterprise staff.
Students wowed their teachers with their ability to work in teams with students they wouldn’t normally sit with. They developed their Listening Carefully skills by taking notes and asking questions about what they’d heard the volunteers say. They also demonstrated great Using Imagination skills when developing ideas for the redevelopment.
What they said:
“Today was a great experience for our students: seeing how different departments work together in a business and how ‘Sketch-up’, a programme we use in school, is used by professionals. It was great for them to find out what the professionals at Walter Lilly wanted to be when they were in primary school and how they got to where they are today. The structure and pace of the challenge was well suited and I have loved seeing how the skills of this class have improved since they first started Enabling Enterprise in Year 3.” – Teacher, Oasis Academy Byron
“I found the day really interesting and enjoyable. It was impressive how quickly the students grasped the tasks and challenges and the enthusiasm they showed. The best bit was seeing how they pulled together to create a 3D model in less than 20 minutes!” – Andrew, Managing Director, Walter Lilly
“The best things today was making our model, the hardest thing was presenting at the end. I feel I learned a lot about building.” – Student, Oasis Academy Byron
Thanks to Walter Lilly for such a great trip day, and to Year 6 from Oasis Academy Byron for coming along.
Enabling Enterprise are working in partnership with schools and businesses to support students to build enterprise skills and aspirations. Find out more by contacting us or visiting enablingenterprise.org
Monday, 25th July 2016
A campaign to tackle both the chronic skills shortage and youth unemployment
Walter Lilly, the market leader in delivering high-end residential projects, as well as science and education facilities, has showcased its commitment to the next generation by joining The 5% Club, an industry led initiative focussed on driving momentum into the recruitment of apprentices, graduates and sponsored students.
The campaign was initiated by defence technology company QinetiQ with an aim to get the UK’s public and private companies to commit to raising the number of apprentices, sponsored students and graduates on formal programmes to 5% of their total workforce within five years.
The aim of the campaign is to tackle both the chronic skills shortage and youth unemployment in Britain and help the country remain at the forefront of innovation. It also asks members to publicly report their progress in their Annual Report.
Walter Lilly encourage and support professional and personal development, and invest heavily in training and education, nurturing the next generation of talent to ensure the long-term growth of the company.
Walter Lilly have been sponsoring construction students at Loughborough University since 1998 and have built a close relationship with the Civil Engineering and Building Department of the University.
As the smallest company in the Loughborough University consortium, we have the flexibility to tailor our support and opportunities for individuals.
Walter Lilly has also supported a number of trainees through their NVQs and degrees on a part-time basis in London. This provides the trainees with the chance to learn through their experiences as well as academically.
The company are currently sponsoring 13 degree students on full time courses and have a further six day release students working at Walter Lilly and studying at London or Home Counties Universities.
Shaun Frampton, Director of Walter Lilly said, “We have consistently supported the next generation of young people as they start their journey into construction. We are pleased to formalise our commitment by joining The 5% Club. In fact, we are very proud to boast that we have 13.0% of the company’s current headcount being on a formalised apprenticeship, sponsored student and/or graduate programme.”
Dr Sam Healy, Programme Director of The 5% Club said, “We’re delighted to welcome Walter Lilly to the initiative. The company’s existing efforts to invest in the next generation are greatly welcomed and together we can strive towards a brighter future for young people in Britain.”
To apply for sponsorship on one of the construction courses at Loughborough University, or for a day release degree at a London University, send your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org
To find out more information about The 5% Club and how to become a member, please visit www.5percentclub.org.uk or get in touch by emailing email@example.com. Information about the campaign can also be found on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Monday, 21st September 2015
Walter Lilly sponsors team to Swaziland for the second year running
Who could refuse the last BBQ of the summer with food, drinks and live music? Not many and, in true Walter Lilly fashion, people came out in force to support the team going out to Swaziland for the second year running to help build a Neighbourhood Care Point in October. The NCP will be used to support the local children as a classroom, a place to serve them food and somewhere for them to meet friends. More information about the organisation can be found at http://www.alloutafrica.com/.
With enough food to feed the 5,000, expertly cooked by Matt Pyle and Jordan Spencer, burgers, hot dogs and chicken were being turned out all evening leaving no one going home hungry. All members of the Swaziland team did their part in organising the event, be it prepping the food, serving drinks or doing a fantastic job at entertaining the guests. The night would not have been the same without Duncan Beach and his band Strange Formation performing at the BBQ, belting out some classic songs creating a great atmosphere. Everyone enjoyed it, even the neighbours.
The generosity of everyone who attended the BBQ and donations prior to the event was astounding, with a profit of £400 being made, surpassing our target. Every penny will be going towards the project to fund gifts and goodies for the local children who All Out Africa work with, as well as materials for the project.
A special mention to everyone at St. Mary’s Church, The Boltons Chelsea, for providing such a beautiful venue and for waiving the hire cost for our good cause. To Wyndham’s butcher for marinating all the chicken and of course thanks to Strange Formations for their fab performance.
The last thing to say is a MASSIVE thank you again to everyone who donated and made the night a success. If anyone is interested to know how the project goes, updates on the team’s progress will be published on their return from Swaziland at the end of October.
Friday, 7th November 2014
Walter Lilly team helping to build a better future for disadvantaged children
On Wednesday 5 November 2014 the Walter Lilly team of Adam, Andrew, Charlie, Erica, Megan, Scott and Zoe broke the ground in Swaziland.
They are working to Build A Future for children orphaned or disadvantaged mainly by the high infection rate of HIV running at 26%.
The task they have been given is to build a new store room at the local infant’s school. This started with excavating the strip foundations. The digging in the hot sun has led to some blisters but the team crack on regardless! They were surprised when a building control officer turned up to ensure everyone was wearing hard hats…
Spirits are high – undoubtedly fuelled by the local beer brewed in the bush and served with creepy crawlies to enhance the flavour. Adam tells us that he has plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit in his diet which is good to know!
Whilst we are sure downtime is rare with so much work going on, the team have found the time to tour Lobamba, go for a swim and visit the local town where they were struck by the harrowing levels of poverty.
Communications are limited but when we hear more we will keep you posted.
Tuesday, 28th October 2014
Our team heads out to Africa to aid a charity construction project
On Sunday 2 November 2014 six of our trainees/students/younger staff depart on a two week trip to Swaziland to carry out building work on a local community project. The trip is Company funded but in part contributed to by the charitable endeavours of the staff involved. This is the first year we have run this scheme and the first of our lucky attendees are Adam Rohan, Andrew Millis, Charlie Saunders, Megan Forster, Scott Ward and Zoe Wickins. Erica Denman, as a seasoned veteran of this trip, will accompany the group as team leader.
The scheme is called “Build a Future” and is run by a charity called All Out Africa which organises a number of volunteer led projects in South Africa, Mozambique, Botswana and Swaziland. Volunteers can assist with building, teaching, community work, sports development and conservation work. In Swaziland a lot of the focus is on orphaned or vulnerable children who are an unfortunate result of increasingly high HIV infection rates. Latest estimates are that 26% of the population are carriers (as a comparison, in the UK the reported figure is 0.2%)
The building work is tough as everything is done by hand from levelling the ground with a pickaxe, mixing up mortar with a spade and making bricks one by one using your body weight to compress the blocks and the sun to dry it all. As an example the deluxe classroom & kitchen unit in the pictures below was made with the following tools: 3 happy volunteers, 1 local builder, 2 wheelbarrows, 2 trowels, 2 spades, 2 rakes, 1 machete, 1 pickaxe, 1 bit of mesh, 1 hammer, 2 sponges, 2 oil drums for access to up to the roof and wood used variously as scaffold, props, levellers, roof supports and beams.
Through Build a Future, volunteers have helped to build a community centre, a classroom, several toilets and a shop unit amongst other equally venerable structures. It is an extremely rewarding venture for both parties. The children obviously have somewhere to eat, shelter, use a loo and learn but they also benefit a great deal from interaction with English speakers, be it a simple hug and hello or teaching them how to read the time. As for the volunteers…well that’s simple….one can never appreciate how fortunate we are in the west until one sees these children, without anything in the world, still smile, still play, still be happy.…and all because they now have a classroom in which to learn the alphabet.
All the very best to Adam, Andrew, Charlie, Erica, Megan, Scott and Zoe for the trip.
There is a computer at their hostel so will do our best to keep you updated on their adventure!
Wednesday, 19th March 2014
We receive high praise from CCS at our residential projects in Mayfair
Walter Lilly’s latest site visit by the Considerate Constructors Scheme has awarded one of our residential projects in Mayfair an outstanding score of 41 and a Certificate Beyond Compliance.
Whilst a number of our projects regularly receive Performance Beyond Compliance certificates, we have, following this visit, received our first score of 9 with the Scheme.
We achieved four scores of 8 in Care about Appearance, Protect the Environment, Secure Everyone’s Safety and Value their Workforce respectively. We are delighted to have been awarded a score of 9 in Respect the Community. A fantastic achievement for Walter Lilly and it’s site team.
Our score of 9 is rated by the Scheme as ‘Exceptional’ – The site is at the forefront of industry best practice demonstrating the very highest level of achievement far above the minimum standards required by the Scheme’s Code and has addressed all questions on the checklist to the highest standards.
All of Walter Lilly’s sites are registered with the Considerate Constructors Scheme at commencement, and more details with regard to this can be found via their website homepage, on the following link; http://www.ccscheme.org.uk
Friday, 6th September 2013
We currently have two members of staff deep in training for separate charity fundraising events.
Our Managing Estimator, Dean Hollingsworth is taking on the London Duathlon, which is a run-bike-run event to be held on 15th September 2013 in Richmond Park.
This is the world’s biggest Duathlon with over 3,000 participants with a choice of 4 challenges. Not one to be outdone, Dean has entered the ‘Ultra’ which is the longest of these challenges and comprises a 20k run, 77k bike ride and a 10k run.
Dean said “This will be the culmination of several months of training and to give you some idea of the task I face there were only 100 participants in the Ultra last year and I anticipate that it will take me some 6 hours or so to complete.”
Competing with a group of local dad’s from his area, they are fundraising for Demelza Hospice Care for Children (http://demelza.org.uk/) who support children with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions and offer support to their families. As keen supporters of this charity, Dean and his fellow ‘dads’ have so far raised over £4.4k of their £10k target. If you would like to add to his running total, you can do so via his online fundraising page: https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/phatdadsclub
One of our Senior Surveyors, Brian Heasman is also entering into the charitable spirit by taking on the ‘Shine London’ 26.2 mile night walk in aid of Cancer Research UK on 28th September 2013.
He successfully completed the marathon walk with fellow Walter Lilly employees in 2012 following the sad loss of both friends and family to this disease – something which many more people can unfortunately relate to in recent years. This year, with aspirations of smashing his 10.5 hour PB (!) he is taking part with a family friend, Louise Gilbert, to raise as much money as possible to help make a difference towards the work into diagnosing and treating cancer.
If you would like to add to Brian’s running total, you can do so via his online fundraising page: http://www.justgiving.com/BrianHeasman
Thank you for your support and good luck to both Dean and Brian – we’re with you every step (and pedal) of the way….!