Three days’ hard work creates a space for wildlife and the local community in East Hills Wood, Costessey

Community charity Groundwork East has teamed up with the staff of JLL to create a magical wide, open glade in East Hills Wood in Costessey near Norwich. 

Working with the Norwich Fringe Project, Friends of the Tud Valley and South Norfolk Council three groups of staff from JLL have removed fallen trees, cleared branches, cut brambles and dragged away fly-tipped rubbish, enjoying a change from their usual office-based work.

The wood has been protected with a new ‘dead hedge’, constructed by packing cut branches between strong posts to make a dense brush fence, which is also a snug wildlife habitat.

This newly cleared area in East Hills Wood can now be used by schools for outdoor lessons and by walkers who can pause and rest on one of the fallen tree trunks to enjoy the beauty of this special woodland.

Groundwork is a community charity working across the east of England. As part of its work, Groundwork teaches communities how to use their local environment and green spaces as a place for learning, improving their skills and keeping active. Groundwork also helps businesses and communities to reduce their impact on their local environments by reducing waste and pollution.

Michael McCormick, JLL said ‘We had great fun over the three days, helping Groundwork and the team clear the area to be more accessible and provide a use to the local community. It also allowed for some of the JLL staff to get out of the office and provide something back to the local community. The feedback from our staff was great, we had a great time and look forward to working with Groundwork on future projects’

JLL staff who took part said “Great for the outdoors and the community”; “Really glad I came along”; “Had a great time, would like more opportunities to do this in the future”

Haidee Stephens, Senior Project Officer for Groundwork East said “It was quite amazing how much the three JLL staff teams achieved. Doing physical activity outside is a great way to unwind and refresh yourself mentally, and when you’re engaged in creating something for the community and wildlife it’s all the more worthwhile.”

Helen Sibley, Community Assets Delivery Officer for South Norfolk Council said “The volunteers worked really hard and got stuck in. Without their help and hard work we would never have been able to get so large an area cleared. The dead hedge will become an excellent wildlife refuge and make a really impressive boundary to the site. A big thank you to all the JLL volunteers, Groundwork, Norwich Fringe Project and Pauline from the Friends of the Tud Valley Volunteers”

Pauline Williamson, Tree Warden and Secretary of Friends of the Tud Valley Conservation Volunteers said “A big “Thank you” to all the volunteers from JLL who put in so much effort to help create the clearing in East Hills Wood, so “kick-starting” our project to provide a wildlife-friendly recreational and educational woodland area for the local Costessey community.  They were a joy to work alongside, and I hope they will come to visit next year to see the result of their hard labours.”

Matt Hewes of Norwich Fringe Project said “This is our third year working with JLL volunteers and as always the group went the extra mile and an enormous amount of excellent work was done by all. On this occasion we managed to complete a really diverse project that included the creation of a very impressive dead hedge, the installation of a hunt gate and fencing as well as the clearing and levelling of an area of waste ground that can now be turned into an attractive woodland glade. I look forward to seeing this area evolve into a valuable gateway area for East Hills wood, providing a great habitat wildlife and an attractive location for local people and school groups.”

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