Community Garden in Shipley Transformed by Openreach Volunteers

Green-fingered Openreach engineers volunteered their time recently to transform a much-loved community garden in Shipley, Derbyshire.

The team of 13, who’re already working in the area building Openreach’s new full fibre network, helped with a number of tasks including repairing a shed roof, digging out a soakaway, helping to fit solar panels and connecting plumbing for a new kitchen.

They also turned the compost heaps over, fitted new curtain poles, and helped install a new projector screen, which the garden had bought using local funding.

Openreach engineers can volunteer locally for three days every year, and the team chose to donate their time to the community initiative located between Derby and Nottingham.

The work coincided with Openreach reaching 100,000 homes and businesses across Derbyshire with full fibre broadband – an investment of more than £30 million.

Engineer, Dan Inger, explains why they chose Shipley Woodside Community Garden:We’re working in the area to make full fibre available, and we’d noticed the huge amount of good work that already goes on here. They do a great job in getting kids involved, have a sensory section to help children with autism and hold regular free open days for all ages.

“During the last 12 months, the garden has been used for dance sessions, a stargazing evening, local history talks, a festival, and picnic and firepit evenings. They grow sustainable organic food there, with any surplus being shared and donated to the local food bank. So we were keen to help.

“The day also had a special memory for us all, as we recently lost one of our teammates to cancer. We’re planting a tree in the garden in his memory, along with a memorial plaque.”

Under the guidance of experienced gardeners and alongside enthusiastic community members, Openreach’s engineers spent a full day helping, in wet and windy conditions.

Engineers volunteering at Shipley

Thankfully, they’re used to working outdoors in varied weather, as they build the network that makes Ultrafast full fibre broadband available.

Shipley, like nearby Eastwood, is one of the places where work is already underway. When finished, people living and working there will be able to access some of the fastest broadband speeds anywhere in the UK.

Across Derbyshire, more than 100,000 premises can already access full fibre, with work taking place in towns and villages across the county to extend that reach even further.

Openreach has a strong presence across the East Midlands, with more than 1,600 of our people living and working in the region.