Openreach Engineers Lend Green Hands to Shipley Community Garden

In a heartwarming display of community spirit, a group of 13 Openreach engineers, already engaged in constructing the new full fibre network in Shipley, Derbyshire, volunteered their time to rejuvenate a beloved community garden.

The dedicated team of engineers engaged in a range of tasks, demonstrating their green-fingered skills. These activities included repairing a shed roof, excavating a soakaway, assisting with the installation of solar panels, and connecting plumbing for a new kitchen facility. Additionally, they diligently turned over compost heaps, installed curtain poles, and facilitated the setup of a new projector screen, funded by local contributions.

Openreach engineers are permitted to volunteer for local causes up to three days each year, and this group decided to dedicate their time to the Shipley Woodside Community Garden, located between Derby and Nottingham.

This act of goodwill coincided with Openreach’s significant milestone of connecting 100,000 homes and businesses across Derbyshire with full fibre broadband, representing an investment of over £30 million.

Engineer Dan Inger shared the motivation behind their choice of Shipley Woodside Community Garden: “We are currently working in the area to make full fibre available, and we noticed the tremendous work already being done here. The garden plays a crucial role in engaging children, including those with autism, and hosts various open days for all ages. Over the past year, the garden has been a venue for dance sessions, stargazing evenings, local history talks, festivals, picnics, and firepit gatherings. They also cultivate sustainable organic produce, sharing any surplus with the local food bank. We were eager to contribute.”

In a poignant moment during the day, the engineers planted a tree in memory of a colleague who recently succumbed to cancer, accompanied by a commemorative plaque.

Guided by seasoned gardeners and working alongside enthusiastic community members, the Openreach engineers labored tirelessly throughout the day, undeterred by wet and blustery conditions. Their resilience mirrors their daily work in the outdoors as they construct the infrastructure necessary to deliver Ultrafast full fibre broadband.

Shipley, like nearby Eastwood, is one of the areas where Openreach’s work is already underway. Upon completion, residents of these locations will have access to some of the fastest broadband speeds in the UK.

Across Derbyshire, over 100,000 premises can now access full fibre, with ongoing efforts to extend this coverage to towns and villages throughout the county. Openreach maintains a robust presence in the East Midlands, with more than 1,600 employees living and working in the region.

Jonny Rae

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