The plight of Dell Farm is well-known locally and this week employees from Vauxhall took some time out to help transform the Luton-based education centre.
Vauxhall Motors allows every employee to give one day a year to volunteer within the community. The recent consultation about the future of Dell Farm caught several employees’ attention, as they had fond memories of visiting the farm themselves as children. This resulted in a team of 30 Vauxhall employees and their children dedicating a day to giving the site a major makeover.
“We contacted Terry Nicholls, Dell Farm’s manager, when we heard the news and we were flooded with requests to come and help,’ said Cherie Denton, Community Relations Coordinator of Vauxhall Motors. “It was decided that employees bring their children to help and have a fun day on the farm at the same time. Twenty young people came and during the day they had the opportunity to participate in caving, bouldering and farm activities.”
Three boys’ dormitories, a boot room and the foyer were painted and a flight of wooden stairs was varnished by Vauxhall’s Digital Team. A wooded area was cleared of nettles and overgrown branches, a bug hotel built and a bark path laid by Vauxhall employees and their children.
“We had a wicked day,” said Beau Burden, aged seven. We built a bug hotel as tall as me!”
“I helped my dad to cut down the bushes and lay a bark path,” said Kieran Slater, aged 12.
A spectacular camp fire circle was laid by two members of a professional ground work team from Volker Highways. Vauxhall contacted Volker Highways, prior to the day to see if they could help by supplying some stone slabs for the camp fire. In the end, not only did Volker supply the slabs, but also two volunteers who did a splendid job of creating a camp fire.
“We were pleased to come and help,” said Paul Mullen from Volker Highways. “If this is going to make the farm more desirable for local groups to book we will have done a good job.”
Helen Barnett, chief executive of Active Luton said: “This is corporate social responsibility at its best! We are hugely grateful to the fantastic support from Vauxhall – they have surpassed our expectations and have made a huge difference to the optimism we now feel about the future of Dell Farm Education Centre.”
Visitors to Dell Farm can just come for the day or enjoy a residential stay either in the purpose built dormitories or by camping on site. The programmes are mainly designed for early years’ foundation stage up to Key Stage 2, but Dell Farm can also accommodate community groups, Duke of Edinburgh, Scouts and Guide groups.
Activities include an amazing inside 20ft climbing wall, the opportunity to tunnel underground in the ‘Caves of Doom’ or experience orienteering first hand with instructors. Visitors can now enjoy a woodland experience and sit round the camp fire and cook their lunch, too.