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Community work delivers amazing boost

Volunteers from a range of businesses came together to transform the Battle of Britain Memorial in a remarkable display of community involvement led by Vinci Facilities.


The work, which would have cost the charity tens of thousands of pounds, saw teams create a new soakaway, clean, weed and repaint the white propeller blades radiating out from the National Memorial to the Few, trim back bushes and trees and lay new aggregate throughout the whole of the access road and car parks.


“The teams worked incredibly hard over two days – avoiding the rain on day two – to get an incredible amount done to a very high standard,” said site manager Jules Gomez, who helped co-ordinate the work with Cheryl Harrison, project manager with facilities giant Vinci FDIS.


Cheryl spent two months organising the makeover, persuading her own team to donate the two days a year that Vinci staff are encouraged to spend on community projects through the company’s Stand Out, Make a Difference campaign and then encouraging other local contractors to contribute.


The result was a remarkable effort that saw a wide range of companies sharing in an impressive spring clean for the much-loved clifftop Memorial.


“I was amazed at how hard they worked and how much they achieved in such a short time,” said Jules. “The work has made a huge difference to the look of the Memorial and has saved us thousands of pounds, particularly in the car park, which was in need of resurfacing. The aggregate alone would have cost more than £15,000 if we had had to buy it.”


Cheryl explained: “Vinci staff are encouraged to use their two days to help in the community, perhaps by litter picking or gardening or supporting a charity in some other way. Because I’m based in Folkestone, I know the Memorial well and so I persuaded 40 of our workforce to join me on this two day project.”


Along with her own colleagues, Cheryl persuaded Maidstone-based BJF Group to completely refurbish the access road and car parks on the site, a job that Trustees had already earmarked as a priority, but which would have involved considerable cost.


Gwella Contracting Services jet washed paths and trimmed greenery, while Brewers in Folkestone and Bedec provided the 120 litres of white paint for the propeller blades free of charge. “We went to Brewers hoping for a discounted price and were delighted when they gave it to us for free,” said Cheryl.


Hendersons Ltd Installed a new soakaway to solve a regular drainage issue at one end of the blades, while grounds maintenance specialists Tivoli and Folkestone tree surgeons and horticulturalists Tag Trees were on hand to tidy up the green areas around the site.


“This is a lovely memorial and I’m delighted that we have been able to make it even better,” Cheryl commented. “This kind of thing is also great for team building and it helps the contractors to network with other businesses and show off their skills.”


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Peter Pool
Peter Pool
4 days ago

Please thank the teem for doing so much, it really has meant a lot to us. We have not met my father yet, he flew in the Battle of Britain, (in Spitfires) shot down a bit burnt. He flew on the Dieppe Raid and was killed. He knew I was on the way so I will meet him one day, up stairs!!!!! I am over 81. Thank you

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