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Construction experts herd together for Matlock Community Regen

Construction experts herd together for Matlock Community Regen

Supporting local need, volunteers at complete construction partner Stepnell have donated their time to help deliver a major community regeneration project in Matlock, Derbyshire.

Contributing to the Hurst Farm Regeneration scheme, team members from Stepnell’s East Midlands office were brought on board to undertake restoration and maintenance works, which involved dismantling a broken dry stone wall and rebuilding its foundations. The volunteers were led by Amanda James, Hurst Farm’s community park ranger and experienced dry-waller, to learn the skills and tools required to complete the work.

The Hurst Farm Regeneration project, which has been led by Derbyshire Dales District Council since 2017, aims to work with volunteering organisations to deliver a thriving and vibrant community for one of Derbyshire’s most deprived areas. Stepnell’s volunteering was coordinated by Derbyshire Time Swap, a platform facilitating time exchanges between individuals and organisations to support community projects.

Sue Woollett, social value manager at Stepnell, said:

“The Hurst Farm Regeneration project demonstrates the immense combined value to community schemes that organisations can offer just by delivering a portion of their time and expertise. In the case of this project delivering much-needed revitalisation to an area of Matlock.”

The Stepnell team also assisted in a local woodland through planting trees and removing invasive species such as sycamore and maples. It was an opportunity to learn techniques for uprooting smaller plants and safely felling trees, such as using the ‘step cut’ and ‘80% front cut’.

The Hurst Farm Regeneration project includes social enterprises that offer locals opportunities to learn gardening, dry stone walling, woodland management, as well as hospitality through initiatives like the Milk Churn Cafe. The project also promotes the availability of affordable fresh produce, through a partnership between the Farmer’s Larder farm shop, and FareShare, The UK's largest food charity ’s largest food charity.

Lindsey Coombs, Time Swap development officer at charity South Derbyshire CVS, said:

“The Stepnell team was enthusiastic, friendly and worked hard all day with smiles on their faces. It was an absolute joy to facilitate this exchange which made a big difference to a fantastic community project.”

After their efforts, the volunteers enjoyed a guided walk along part of the heritage trail and learned about plans to enhance views of Lumsdale Valley, which includes proposals to plant native trees, plants, and wildflowers to boost biodiversity.

Sue added:

“The opportunity to be a part of the regeneration provides not just value to the project and locals who benefit but also to our team, who have enjoyed spending time together among nature. As well as our volunteering at Hurst Farm, we are proud to offer all employees two volunteer days each year to support them to be proactive in activities that benefit the communities we work in, while providing a boost to their own wellbeing.

“We are looking forward to returning later in the year, accompanied by more colleagues to make a bigger impact.”

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