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Chloe’s Trainee Challenge: Enhancing biodiversity for adults with learning disabilities

Improving biodiversity and encouraging learning across local communities

Every year, each office elects a final-year management trainee to plan and deliver a community project, with just £500 seed money. Our trainees engage with local stakeholders and charity partners, galvanising our people and supply chain partners to support.

In 2021, all challenges were guided by Now or Never. Read more about what our trainee challenger from our Interiors business, Chloe Willicombe, achieved…

Chloe hosted series of educational workshops with a biodiversity focus for adults with learning disabilities and school children and encouraged our people to improve biodiversity in their own homes.

Chloe’s ambition was to build lives and improve the planet. She designed and organised two workshops to support her aims, one on Carpentry and another on Biodiversity. She involved a work experience placement to design the graphics for the step-by-step carpentry guides, biodiversity workbooks and certificates.

With support from her colleagues and supply chain partners, she delivered the two weeks of workshops to residents of Camphill Village Trust. Camphill Village Trust is a charity which supports adults with learning disabilities, autism and mental health challenges.

During week one of the course, Camphill’s residents learnt how to build planters, bird boxes and bug hotel frames. The second week of the course saw the team deliver biodiversity awareness workshops, with nature-friendly plants planted in the structures they built during week one, which Camphill’s residents will look after going forward.

Liberty Kitchen provided the catering over the two weeks. They are a street food social enterprise, with recipes created, made and sold by ex-prisoners. Camphill’s Social Enterprise Bakery provided sweet treats.

The team finished off the two weeks with a celebration event, where residents received certificates.

Kat Collins, Day Ops Manager, Camphill Village Trust, said: “It has been wonderful to see some of the people we support who lack the confidence, really getting involved and engaging with the guys that have been here teaching them. It has been super; all they have talked about for the last two weeks is this challenge and we hope the trainees come back soon! Chloe’s organisation, the logistics of everything, which has been difficult during Covid, has been absolutely perfect. We couldn’t have asked for more, we really thank you.”

Chloe’s biodiversity workshop was also delivered to students at Lanchester Community Free School. Each class was awarded with a certificate at the end of the workshops and the team installed planters, birdboxes and bug hotels around their playground for them to enjoy and watch the biodiversity evolve.

In addition to the workshops, Chloe engaged our people through a range of activities, including:

  • Sending sunflower kits to all staff with competition to grow the tallest
  • Encouraging our people to build a bug hotel in their gardens
  • Taking part in a competition to walk, run, cycle or swim, with the number of miles being invested in a carbon offsetting

“I have done a few trainee challenges in my time all of them for worthy causes, however this one was the best yet. To be able to not only improve the environment but bring some fun, laughter and real engagement to the residents of Camphill Village Trust was fantastic. To also see how well all of our trainees engaged and enriched the experience for them was inspiring and witnessing this for me personally made it a very rewarding and heartfelt day.” - Nick Anderson, Commercial Manager at Willmott Dixon Interiors