Volunteer profile: Infrastructure Projects Team Southern – Southeast

Bexhill Park community scheme

Network Rail’s Sussex power supply upgrade project borders the Combe Valley countryside park, which follows the route of the former Bexhill to Crowhurst railway line.

Taking advantage of the Network Rail's volunteer leave policy our staff teamed up with McNicholas to restore a footpath between Bexhill and Hastings. The team tidied the area, cleared all the weeds and vegetation, and also built benches and tables for the park area by using old sleepers and cable drums from the project. As the project progresses, bird boxes for kestrels will also be created using pallets. Enjoying the scenic views of Combe Valley, Bexhill-on-Sea, will soon be easier than ever for visitors thanks to the hard work of the volunteer team.

 

Key benefits 

  • Having fallen into disrepair, the area is now more easily accessible thanks to the relocation of signage, construction of an access ramp and creation of a seating area.
  • The community park can now open an area of natural interest to the expanding local community, with much of the immediate area being developed for local housing.
  • Habitats have been created through the scheme for insects and other animal life to increase the biodiversity.

Lessons learned

  • The activity helped to build good relationships with our project stakeholders, contractors, local council and the wider community; and sharing objectives with principal contractors enables the impact of any community relations activities to be enhanced.
  • Volunteering doesn’t have to be a one-off event; in the early autumn the team will be inviting a local school to the area to provide an educational session around environmental sustainability.