Community Enhancement Gangs – Making their mark in communities
My name is Alan and I work for KierWSP, the Highways Service provider, for Northamptonshire County Council. In 2010 it was decidedto set up community enhancement gangs for the county, to undertake minor improvement and safety works that would be agreed between KierWSP and parish representatives.
We are always busy with the summer and winter bringing in various types of requests from painting or clearing fallen leaves and this work continues on a rota throughout the year, ensuring all parishes get the maintenance they deserve.
I am up early and on my way to the Brixworth depot for 7.30am where my colleagues and I check our vehicle to make sure we are all set for the day. Our primary concern is to make sure that we have all the tools we need to provide the best service to the parishes.
Over the last few months we have been working our way around the county carrying out jobs that parishes feel add that little bit extra. Work that may not normally be carried during routine routine maintenance is done by us to enhance the look of villages, something we take great pride in.
First thing, whilst having a cup of tea, I check my emails to see what sort of work needs to be done and then we head out. We are getting specific requests from parishes all the time but, if there is a day where this does not happen, we are out on the road in any case spotting anything that may need doing ensuring that signs are cleans and obstructing vegetation is cleared.
The most popular types of work carried out are ensuring village signs are cleaned and in good condition and clearing weeds. There isn’t really a typical day as the work is varied and depends on the requests.
The key to this scheme working is co-ordination and we rely on the Area Managers to keep us up to date on what needs to be done and where. We like to dedicate one day in each parish so that the work we carry out really makes a visible difference.
Although we go out with a list of jobs to do the day can change depending on who we see. Sometimes parish clerks will come and see us and, often, parishioners may have requests which, if we have the equipment and time, we will do. I can see a great pride in the parishes and it is great the local residents are pro active in reporting issues to their parish representative and we are able to respond.
At 4 we are ready to go home and head back to the depot. It can be hard work and the weather, as always, can be hit and miss and can make or break how we feel during the day!
At the end of the week we are ready for the weekend and that well deserved drink….
The Area Managers will be happy to discuss this scheme with nominated representatives of the parish council on 01604 883400.
Ian Smith. Area Manager for Daventry and Kettering Districts.
Ciaran Murphy. Area Manager for East Northants and Corby Districts
Stuart Mann. Area Manager for parishes within Northampton Borough and South Northants.
All representatives are based at KierWSP Northamptonshire Highways, Highways Depot, Harborough Rd., Brixworth, Northamptonshire. NN6 9BX.
The types of works Community Enhancement Gangs are equipped to deal with include:
- Siding out of footways
- Cleaning of signs
- Repairs to signs, refixing signs to posts and/or realignment of posts
- Clearing of vegetation from signs and footways
- Resetting slabs/block paving
- Isolated pothole repairs
- Minor kerb repairs
- Isolated gully cleansing, rodding of connections, and/or clearance of drainage grips
- Strimming and clearance of small areas of verge
- Painting of street furniture (bollards, etc)
- Improvements to bus stops/shelters
- Any other works that may enhance the aesthetic look of the parish