Hammerson Community Day 2014

1 Jul 2014

Our 6th Community Day was as well supported as ever and this time, the sun shone!

On the 20th June 2014, 12 teams from Hammerson set out to make a difference in the community. 

In Hackney, we arranged the Hammerson Games with 220 young people from Whitmore, Sebright, Daubenay and Burbage Primary Schools. Our 25 strong team definitely had their work cut out for them when they were divided among 16 teams partaking in 8 different sporting activities. Through mentoring, coaching, scoring and trouble shooting, our team were able to help build confidence and teach young children that being active can be fun. Our staff Team Leader expressed "It's great to see children doing sports that they might not otherwise get the chance to. You could really see them working together to accomplish something. Most of all, it was nice to see them enjoying themselves. Great fun." Anna Springbett from Sports Inspired, who organised the event, added "The volunteers were fantastic!". 

Meanwhile in Kings Cross, a team of 14 were transforming outdoor buildings and pulling weeds at the Coram Headquarters. Hammerson have a long standing relationship with this charity and every year we return to offer our resources for whatever needs doing. This year we were requested to revive a garden area and repaint a shed, fence and the rehabilitation out house on the property. Ensuring the campus grounds are safe and inviting for the children and their families to visit is imperative in how the charity runs itself. All staff members gave 100% with one adding "it was a good day and I really enjoyed it". Hopefully we didn't cause too much damage to the flowers!

From pulling up weeds in one side of London to ensuring it's protection in the other. Our team of 18 down in Croydon spent their Community Day installing gates and steps into a wildlife reserve for the London Wildlife Trust. By making the countryside more accessible to the local community, more can learn about wildlife and the measures in place to protect it. Our very active team spent their day hauling planks of wood, digging and sawing. This was definitely not one for the couch potatoes..

Neither was the clean up of Barnet Football Grounds in North London. Our staff here worked with Barnet Homes and AFST Hendon (Academy of Football Specific Training) to cut back overgrown areas around the football pitch at Grahame Park and litter pick and tidy the general areas around the changing facilities. With our volunteers, and the heavy duty machinery donated between the partners, we helped the expenditure of £6,000 on industrial clean up fees. A spokesperson from AFST Hendon said "the Fix Up day was amazing and the amount that we managed to achieve in such a short space of time was incredible. Thank you to everyone involved, we look forward to people of all ages from the local community getting use of the pitch".

We also saw a lot of active members of staff taking a short trip from the London office over to Brent Cross, to join our Centre colleagues cleaning up Sturgess Park. Our staff, along with Barnet Council, and volunteers from our anchor tenant John Lewis, all joined forces to clear shrubs, litter pick and remove graffiti in the park. With the lovely weather we've been experiencing here in Britain, hopefully there has been an increase in visitors to the park to enjoy the beautiful surroundings the team helped to make.

With the help of another Centre of ours - Highcross, we were able to work with a number of Leicester's charities and local organisations to run a Community News Room to produce a Highcross Community digital magazine. All parties joined together to gather content including stories, interviews and photos to be communicated via the digital magazine. One volunteer from Highcross said “it would be nice if we could go back to the charity in a couple of months to see how they have developed.”   

Along with a news room, we also arranged for a Dragon's Den type scenario in partnership with Newham Educational Business Partnership. This saw students from Gallions Primary School working in groups to create a business plan, develop a product, and deliver a pitch to Hammerson staff members. On the day our staff provided feedback to the students and asked questions about their products and plans. The purpose of this event was to increase children's awareness about the variety of jobs and careers there are in the work place. It also helps them to build their confidence in professional situations and develop relationships. Nina Staebler, from Newham Educational Business Partnership described our staff as "really friendly and enthusiastic". We really hope the children found it rewarding, and more importantly, had fun.

Also with Newham Educational Business Partnership, our staff participated in "BOSS Day". BOSS, on this occasion, stood for Building Opportunities Skills Seminar and this was aimed at providing students with knowledge of the job application process. Our staff shared their expertise with the Year 10 students from Little Ilford School in East Ham by working with them in 3 seminars. These focused on the skills and qualities needed for work, CV writing and how to fill in application forms, and interview techniques. Having this knowledge is vital for children at this stage in their development so most found the experience very rewarding. 

Not far away in our London headquarters, our staff were outnumbered by more school children for what we called "The Regeneration Challenge". This time, we volunteered staff to act as Business Mentors, working with the children from three Croydon based schools. This activity saw the children producing a regeneration plan for the Croydon area and presenting it to not only the mentors, but also the other schools and their teachers. The prospect of presenting to such a large audience didn't seem to phase the 15-16 year olds as every individual presented and contributed in a very mature manner. All teachers and Hammerson staff were impressed with the quality of the work the students produced with one teacher from Addington High,  adding "the Regeneration Challenge was a chance to strengthen relationships with students outside of the classroom and also take them to London (which was a new experience for many of them).

Students in Hackney, East Ham and Croydon weren't the only ones to benefit from Hammerson's Community Day 2014. Students from Western Park Primary School in Southampton also benefited from our staffs efforts when they spent the day cleaning up their campus. Our staff contributed their time doing gardening and clearing/tidying the area for the pupils. The area that the staff were focused on was the the area used for the after-school gardening club which is working on a display for the Southampton in Bloom competition being run in the city this year. Hopefully we aided the school enough for them to spend all their time on their submission. Best of luck to them!

And last, but definitely not least, we had our activity which we undertook with Shoreditch Trust. Here, our staff aided Shoreditch Trust in promoting their Healthy Eating programme by combining break-out "Cook and Eat" sessions and looking at the feasibility of introducing it into the public realm. These sessions were originally developed by the Trust, with the help of the NHS to address the high level of obesity in the Hackney area. Edouard Guidon from Shoreditch Trust, thanked the staff for "giving us the opportunity to take advantage of Hammerson's experience and expertise". I'm sure our staff enjoyed working with food as much as they did eating it.

These activities are just those which were organised through our Head Office. However, many of the centres led their own Community Days. For more information on these, please visit the individual pages which will soon appear in the stories section here.