Published date: 25 August 2021

I do like to be beside the seaside

Paul Cross and members of the East asset management and construction teams recently volunteered at the newly refurbished Kennedy Way Medical Centre, helping to create a community garden on a piece of formerly overgrown land in the centre of the car park.

Meet the author

If you can remember when the sun came out earlier in the month, I was lucky enough to join a volunteering day with some of our East team in Clacton-on-Sea, Essex who have been involved with our newly refurbished Kennedy Way Medical Centre and similar projects in that area.

We’ve created a community garden on a piece of formerly overgrown land in the centre of the patient and staff car park.  With raised beds, grassed areas and a ‘Man Shed’ now in place, and handover imminent to the lovely volunteers from Tendring Community Voluntary Services, patient groups and the resident’s association, the time was right to get out our gloves and tools to do a spot of tidying up and weeding.

I spent three hours with the team as we grappled with long grass and raised beds with weeds, which thanks to the tropical weather of late had taken on a triffid-like capacity to grow significantly before the handover.  

The community group were also on site for a meeting and were mightily impressed – and indeed grateful – with the work we had done. 

You may not know, but Clacton-on-Sea is adjacent to one of the most deprived areas in the country.  It’s been so special to work alongside the voluntary groups to develop this area following our refurbishment of their Medical Centre and give something back to this deserving community.  Getting my hands dirty and doing something direct to assist was very rewarding and satisfying – helped by the cups of tea and cupcakes that appeared halfway through our session curtesy of Jo Tuck in our East Construction team.

The team are all working on NHSPS projects across the East and after the last 18 months, it was doubly special to be able to see and talk to everyone face to face to catch-up, share some jokes and indeed, discuss a few work-related issues whilst we weeded.  

I’m personally very passionate about our social prescribing programme and Kennedy Way is one of a number of great projects we’re delivering for very enthusiastic and grateful community groups.  Actually doing something tangible to help is the icing on the cake.   I’d recommend this to everyone!

The team:  Martin Meltzer, Chris Philbedge, Barry Clark, Ross Potter, Kenny Holmes, Jo Tuck, Paul Cross