The Sunniest Sunflower!

All members of the Grounds Team took part in an in-house Sunflower growing competition this year.

The Sunflowers were grown from seed and were then planted out at the Grounds nursery. Their growth has been very closely monitored over the last few weeks with some of the early front runners fading away.

The competition was strongly fought with a large amount of care and attention lavished on the Sunflowers, with some team members really going the extra mile to encourage growth in some rather unusual ways (singing, playing music and dancing have been reported)!

We are delighted to announce that the winner of the prestigious Sunniest Sunflower 2022 Award, with the tallest and most floriferous Sunflower, is Elliot Smith. Congratulations Elliot!

The Sunniest Sunflower Award was created in-house from fallen timber on campus, which not only makes it sustainable, personal to the team but also economically viable as it cost nothing to create!

The winner, Elliot Smith, next to proudly accepting the Sunniest Sunflower Award

The Sunniest Sunflower Award

Covid Testing Sheds Upcycled to Community Gardens

Throughout the pandemic the University sited an outdoor Covid testing centre on Streatham Campus and now that this centre has been disbanded, the Covid Testing Centre Manager, Deborah Custance-Baker, contacted the Grounds Team and kindly offered two of the testing sheds to be re-housed.

Deborah said “During the pandemic, the Covid Rapid Response Team took over the Sports Hall and ran a drive-through testing centre at Car Park B, which we used the sheds for. The testing officially ended at the end of early June 2022. We had found it difficult to rehome equipment from the the project as there was such a mass of it all. Now Covid is coming to and end, it is great to find a benefit of these sheds for the local communities”.

Our Horticultural and Operations Manager, Anthony Cockell, made some enquiries within the local communities and found two new homes for these sheds – Exeter St Thomas Community Garden and the Refugee Support Devon Community Allotment.

Anthony, along with two members of the Grounds Team – Sam Whitehorne and Leo Brooke, used their University annual volunteering community day to work together and deliver these sheds to their new horticultural homes.

This is a great sustainable and community initiative and we are delighted to be able to support these local communities.

The pandemic highlighted the importance of outdoor space, the benefits of nature and gardening and how it increases wellbeing and mental and physical health. So it seems fitting that equipment used for the pandemic can now be used for community allotments and gardens.

Thank you to everyone involved with this project; your generosity and hard work will benefit many!

Loading the sheds

Loading the sheds

Loading the sheds

Delivering the shed to the Refugee Support Devon Community Allotment

Shed delivered – great job everyone!

The Mighty Oak Award!

All members of the Grounds Team took part in a new Mighty Oak Award knock-out competition in 2021 which ran for eight months until the winner was declared. The competition included questions on health and safety, horticulture, arboriculture and some unusual statistics in the industry!

The competition helped improve working relationships, highlighted the combined horticultural and arboricultural knowledge and expertise of the team and also showed the competitive nature of some of the team members!

The award trophy was created in-house from felled timber on campus, which not only made it sustainable, personal but also free!

Mighty Oak Award 2021 trophy

Marcus, the proud winner of the Mighty Oak Award 2021

 

Celebrating our fantastic Grounds Team staff!

Unfortunately, due to the current restrictions, the annual Grounds Staff Celebration Event could not take place this year.

However, we were determined to still go ahead with the staff awards and pictured are some of the very deserving winners.

The last photo is the creative drum roll done before every award was announced!

We would like to thank EVERYONE in the Grounds Team for all their hard work, dedication and motivation during this very difficult year. You are all absolute stars ⭐⭐