Newsprinters’ Big Dig project at the company’s Scotland print plant has seen staff transform the outside space and build a special relationship with local disadvantaged children
SCHOOLCHILDREN with emotional and learning difficulties have been getting to grips with nature, thanks to a blossoming environmental education project at Newsprinters Eurocentral print plant in Motherwell, Scotland.
And what started with an annual visit has now turned into a weekly event for children from the Parkhill School in Glasgow.
And as a result, better use is being made of the garden, environmental and educational facilities at the plant, which prints News UK titles The Sun, The Times, The Sunday Times and a number of other newspapers under contract.
The school is for young people aged 11 to 18 with additional support needs, emotional and learning difficulties, and health and disability disorders.
Big Dig initiative launched
The initiative was launched at the end of 2010 when 17 Newsprinters staff volunteers braved freezing wet conditions to undertake the first phase of the Big Dig. This saw the completion of a 22,000 litre pond, several larger planters, summerhouse patio base and construction of ladybird, insect and bee homes, nesting boxes, a wormery and a composter.
Phases two and three were completed in summer 2011 and saw the installation of a summerhouse, pond plants, the creation of vegetable planters, plus information signage and the provision of academic books. This was followed by an official opening ceremony.
Newsprinters Eurocentral soft services manager Julie Fergus told PJ: “This year’s Big Dig in June was yet another successful day. Staff and children created a number of raised vegetable beds, extended the garden and painted the summerhouse.”
She added: “What these children face on a daily basis is humbling and Newsprinters quite rightly is proud to work alongside the local community.”
Newsprinters' progressive biodiversity programme
The Big Dig project is all part of Newsprinters’ progressive biodiversity programme originally headed by former soft services manager Bobby McConville. The original pond project was prompted by staff wanting to see some tangible benefits of their environmental drive.
Mr McConville said when the project was launched: “The Big Dig was an idea that came out of a series of culture workshops held at the renowned environmental surroundings of Carrour Highland estate.
“These workshops were designed to bring integrated teams of Newsprinters and business partner staff together to look at how far they have gone at Eurocentral on their journey to becoming ‘World Class’.
“The aim is for it to be enjoyed by the local community through sponsorship taken up by a local school or community group.”
Latest Big Dig was 'unforgettable experience'
Parkhill school teacher Michael May told Newsprinters, the day after this year’s Big Dig: “We all had a ball. I would say that it was obvious how touched and privileged all of your staff were by our wonderful children.
“Teachers do not know the effect we have on our pupils. It is lifelong, and, in essence, two-way. They give so much back... in a sense we recycle love with our pupils and you all both witnessed, and contributed to, that yesterday. An unforgettable experience for everyone.”