Firm helps transform ‘wild’ woods plagued by substance abuse

Haven Power team led by Paul Sheffield collects an award on stage with Rob and Jo Brooks from Brickm

Haven Power team led by Paul Sheffield collects an award on stage with Rob and Jo Brooks from Brickmakers Wood Picture: HAVEN POWER - Credit: Archant

An Ipswich business-to-business energy supplier has picked up a sector award for its work with a local charity.

Haven Power scooped the Community Initiative of the Year title at the Utility Week Awards 2018 for its efforts to transform Brickmakers Wood.

The wild and overgrown Brickmakers wood area, covering 3.5 acres of central Ipswich, was plagued by substance abuse and other illegal activities before 2016. Since then, local charity Eden-Rose Coppice Trust has been striving to transform the wasteland into a beautiful, tranquil space for terminally ill and socially disadvantaged people.

Brickmakers Wood has been Haven Power’s charity of the year for the past two years. Each month, 10 volunteers devote a day to the site, and work with charity founders Rob and Jo Brooks on renovating the land. It also supports fundraising activities including theme days, bake offs, raffles, and choir concerts.

Chief operating officer Paul Sheffield said: “We’re so excited to have won this award with Brickmakers Wood. It’s a project that’s very close to our heart, and we love working with Rob and Jo, and supporting the work they do.”

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Without Haven Power’s help, Rob Brooks and his daughter Jo would have to undertake most of the work at Brickmakers’ Wood single-handedly.

Jo said the firm’s help had made “a huge difference”.

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“It would’ve taken us five years to get to where we have in 18 months. Haven Power have accelerated the whole project by helping us build steps and decking, create an allotment and plant wildflowers. Their employees’ work ethic and commitment to the cause is incredible.

“We’ve never seen this much commitment from a company - the continual volunteering has transformed the project, so we’re now two-to-three years ahead of where we would’ve been otherwise. And it’s all down to Haven Power’s people being so engaged.”

In 2017 Haven Power raised more than £9000 for Brickmakers Wood, and volunteered around 800 hours, and is looking to do more this year.

“As a large local employer it’s important to get involved in the local community. Our work with Brickmakers Wood gives our people a purpose away from their daily roles at work and elsewhere. Employees know that their support helps care for the environment through sustainability, and benefits the local community too,” said Mr Sheffield.

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