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Barnstondale gets a lift

Barnstondale gets a lift, with a little help from our friends

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Two teams of volunteers from Vauxhall Network Q and local Vauxhall retailer, Lookers have turned out to lend a hand at Barnstondale, by pitching in with a tidy-up of the site. Vauxhall has also loaned us a new Zafira Tourer! The volunteers visited last month (6 September), to kick start the winter work.

The 28 volunteers kindly worked their socks off to put up fence posts, paint timber fencing and clear the carpark of overgrowth and debris. Other tasks completed included clearing paths through the dale, laying pathways and pulling up weeds. It’s the time of year when gardeners the length and breadth of the country begin to think about winter and Barnstondale is no exception.

The Network Q team from Vauxhall has helped out at Barnstondale before, but this year they were joined by extra staff from Vauxhall Lookers’ divisional team. Lookers staff heard about Vauxhall’s contribution to Barnstondale and wanted to get involved too. By splitting up into smaller groups, the volunteers were able to tackle a wide range of tasks.

In addition to all their manual help, Vauxhall has delivered a seven-seat Zafira Tourer to the centre, which will be used to transport children, as well as for everyday tasks. This is the seventh car to be loaned to Barnstondale by Vauxhall since 2011, all have provided huge benefits to the centre.

Steve Eley, Franchise Director at Lookers Vauxhall, commented: “It was great being able to help last week. I certainly found it really enjoyable being able to support the effort Barnstondale makes to enhance the lives of the kids it supports. We’re happy to help in any way we can, as we can see the centre is making a real difference to its visitors, old and young.”

Commented Cherie Denton, Community Relations Officer at Vauxhall: “Our links to Barnstondale, year-on-year, are very important to us. It’s great for us to be able to have the opportunity to support local charities – not just by donating money, but by donating our time and even vehicles. This is our third year of helping out on-site at the centre and it’s usually hard graft for a day. But Barnstondale provides an inspirational environment for young people and we’re delighted that our efforts are appreciated.”

Commented Heidi Hughes, Business Director at Barnstondale: “15 acres of natural woodland and countryside doesn’t look after itself. We’re a relatively small team and as well as running the centre, the upkeep is a major undertaking in itself. The Vauxhall and Lookers teams’ help is fantastic, as it means we can take on bigger jobs and get more done in a day than we would normally. The Zafira is extremely useful too and a very welcome addition to the centre’s facilities.”

Barnstondale scores a winner at Anfield

Thanks to the ongoing support from Vauxhall Motors, we nominated a local football team to receive training at the famous Anfield Academy of Football.

Ellesmere Port-based Vauxhall Motors has been a long-standing supporter of Barnstondale. The company has provided new vehicles for the charity and staff have given up their free time to carry out volunteer work on-site over the last six years. Vauxhall is also a sponsor of Liverpool Football Club and as part of its sponsorship, it had the opportunity to send a youth team for one day’s training at the Anfield Academy of Football. Knowing Barnstondale’s close links with many of the local football teams, Vauxhall gave them the chance to choose the team to take advantage of this amazing opportunity.

11 players from Heswall Under-11s were selected to receive a full day of first-class coaching from the staff on the AstroTurf pitches at Liverpool FC’s training ground, as well as touring the facility and seeing where Liverpool’s Under-21 team train.

George Jones, Barnstondale’s centre manager commented: “The boys had an amazing day and came away tired but inspired. They all received attendance medals and a new football. Huge thanks to Vauxhall Motors for its continued support and for giving us the opportunity to give this team a taste of Premiership training.”

Commented Cherie Denton, Community Relations Coordinator at Vauxhall Motors: “It’s important for us to develop and support close links within our local community. We have been working with Barnstondale for some time now and the centre does a great job in encouraging sporting and outdoor activities. We were delighted to be able to benefit one of the groups that regularly uses Barnstondale’s facilities, through our wider sponsorship with Liverpool FC.”

Vauxhall staff clear the road

vauxhall-volunteersVauxhall Network Q staff from all across the country visited us recently to volunteer in helping establish the charity’s new Wild Wood Challenge. The 21-strong team spent a day working alongside the our own staff to clear space for ‘villages’ to be built in its wooded area.

Once introduced, participants in this challenge will have the opportunity to spend a day in the woods, taking on a range of fun activities such as building shelters, lighting fires and learning new skills in a natural setting. We’ve previously run pilots of its Wild Wood Challenge but were short of space to accommodate school groups who regularly enjoy its other activities. The support of Vauxhall Network Q’s team was a huge help as it was expected that clearing the space would take a considerable amount of time and place a strain on the charity’s resources. Barnstondale now has three sites available which are particularly suited to taking groups of children.

Vauxhall Network Q has a strong commitment to supporting the local community and as part of its 25th birthday celebrations the team decided to support Barnstondale, which its Ellesmere Port branch has worked with in the past. As well as championing its company values, the staff saw the day as an opportunity for a useful team building exercise. The team certainly proved its ability to overcome many obstacles, especially given the initial doubt which many felt towards being able to clear the entire space in a single day. Staff members even had time spare to try their hand at rifle shooting, climbing and abseiling before returning to their work locations across the country.

Commented Derek Wilson, Operations Manager for Vauxhall Network Q division: “We wanted to support Barnstondale because we heard about their work in bringing young people together from a variety of different backgrounds – providing opportunities for everybody to learn, grow and personally develop. A big part of our ethos is about supporting champions of the community such as this charity and we had a great time doing it. We would recommend people pay a visit and get involved themselves if they haven’t already been.”

Commented George Jones, centre manager at Barnstondale: “The effort from the Vauxhall team was amazing, they worked so hard to create the clear spaces we need for our Wild Wood Challenge. They were great company and we enjoyed showing them some of our other activities. We really do appreciate all their help. We warmly welcome any future efforts from other businesses whose staff would like to get hands on in supporting us”