We are delighted to reveal the WINNER of stage two of our Building Biodiversity Competition…
Hildred’s Shopping Centre in Skegness has been named winner for its transformation of a dreary car park into a biodiverse haven for staff, customers, and local community groups.
Management of the New River REIT plc-owned and Workman-managed centre is led by Steve Andrews, Centre Manager for Workman at Hildreds, who will now have his name engraved onto the railings within the Natural History Museum’s gardens, as part of its Urban Nature Project.
The judges felt that this property had demonstrated the best new urban nature initiative, delivering the greatest biodiversity, while providing significant social impact to occupiers and the local community as a whole.
“Workman is a true advocate of the Urban Nature Project and demonstrates genuine proactivity in how it supports the project. Workman’s Building Biodiversity competition is a fantastic way to further ignite the impact of their support, engaging the property sector with protecting and nurturing urban biodiversity. It’s inspiring to see such an array of initiatives being submitted, showcasing what others can do to help their local area; both for the environment and their local community.
“Congratulations to the winner Steve Andrews, Centre Manager at Hildreds Shopping Centre in Skegness, who – along with his team – managed to transform a dreary car park into a biodiverse haven for staff, customers, and local community groups. We are delighted that these achievements are being recognised in the grounds of the Urban Nature Project thanks to Workman’s competition.
“Initiatives such as these demonstrate the local importance of businesses being proactive in tackling the linked climate and ecological emergencies, and in doing so helping to protect and enrich the nature on everyone’s doorstep.”
The onsite team earmarked a rest area in the sunniest area of the centre to take advantage of the south-facing aspect of the car park, which had previously been filled with thorn bushes. Two benches and three large planters were created for the space by centre staff, using recycled shop fittings. The upcycled flower tubs and seating were designed and filled with compost made from food waste donated by the café on site, and local schools and groups joined in a planting day.
Several care homes brought elderly residents who had enjoyed gardening but were no longer able to. Children learned from the experienced adult, and the adult enjoyed watching the children plant with enthusiasm. Two troughs were also created – one for flowers and one for fruit and vegetables which could be harvested by the community. The New River REIT plc-owned centre has now established a gardening club, with several customers visiting through the week to tend to the plants.
Meanwhile, shoppers were invited to make “wildflower bombs” from a ball of clay and wildflower seeds, and once dried, they were asked to throw it onto grassed verges or shrubbed areas of the car park on their next visit. To attract wildlife, school children were invited into the centre to paint designs on bee and bug houses and donated their completed works of art to help attract a diverse range of insects and bees.
In addition, the onsite team worked alongside County Care, a charity teaching independent living skills to young adults with learning difficulties. The young adults collected empty plastic milk bottles and turned them into colourful character heads, before filling with compost and plants to resemble hair. The result was around 40 wall-mounted bright heads sprouting wildflower hair.