Cancer Research UK – Race for Life Pretty Muddy 5K
30th May 2019
This year we are taking part in the 5K Pretty Muddy in Clumber Park, a Race for Life event, to fundraise for Cancer Research UK. The money raised by our ‘Mucky Landscapers’ will be used for research into all types of cancer. Unfortunately, cancer affects 1 in 2 people, and by raising money, we are aiming to help with the progress of improving the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
The Pretty Muddy event is a fun course containing muddy obstacles which will involve a lot of climbing, crawling and sliding! The event is usually split into waves of 15 minutes apart to ensure the safety of those involved. As a group, we will be slotted in the same wave which will make the event even more fun! There are several Pretty Muddy events across the UK, varying in location, dates and length of course, them being 5K or 10K. The event which we will be attending will take place on Saturday 29th June 2019, in Clumber Park, a National Trust country park located near Worksop. The course route takes in the nicest areas of Clumber Park showing the best scenery of the countryside and includes some inclines, forestry tracks and tarmac roads.
The event is well known for bringing people together for a very good cause. We will all be wearing pink on the day to represent the Race for Life theme. If you would like to make a donation for cancer research, please visit our fundraising page on the link below and donate to one of our Mucky Landscapers taking part in the event. In the next coming weeks, we will keep our Twitter page updated with posts associated with the event in an effort to raise awareness and funding for this important cause. There will be some fun pictures of the actual event on the day too!
Our fundraising page, The Mucky Landscapers – https://fundraise.cancerresearchuk.org/team/the-mucky-landscapers
Business Administration Level 3
24th May 2019
This week our weekly blog focuses on the Business Administration Apprenticeship Level 3, which is being undertaken by our Administrator, Rheanne. The course is being delivered by Lincoln College and incorporates the new apprenticeship framework, which is predominantly work-based. The assessment involves monthly visits from Rheanne’s tutor to our site, where they discuss progress and future projects. So far, Rheanne has completed an impressive 23% of the whole course, having started in October. The programme is conducted in an online platform which provides revision material, guidance and the actual tasks and assignments which Rheanne submits to the tutor to sign them off. To complete the course, Rheanne has 30 more assignments on different areas of business administration, which will involve researching skills, exploring case studies and of course recording her own work experience. Upon completion of the assignments, she will then undertake a research project which will take approximately 9 months to complete. Her chosen area of the research project will be based on acquiring the Investors in People accreditation, which is one of our long-term goals. So far, Rheanne has had positive feedback from her tutor and her manager, and she is doing brilliantly to progressing with her career at West Lindsey Landscapes Ltd as the Office Manager.
On a side note, this week Simon, Dan and Ayrton have attended a power box rake demo with Mumby Machinery. We were most impressed with Gary’s knowledge of the product which has been invented by himself a few years ago. The machine itself provided great results and demonstrated perfect suitability for a key aspect of soft landscaping, cultivation and preparation of topsoil. We are now in the process of purchasing the equipment, which will assist us in moving forward as a company and achieve our long-term objectives. We are also very thankful for Gary’s and Sue’s teas and cakes!
17th May 2019
We have had great news this week! Our grant application went through the panel meeting on Tuesday, and has been approved. We are now in the process of arranging demos for our site team to see and experience the different branded power box rakes, so that we can select and purchase the most suitable equipment. We have been using BLEC for several years, and now there is an opportunity for us to try out the new BLEC power box rake, and also different brands. It is an exciting time, as the new equipment will assist us in increasing our work output and promote growth.
Also this week, our workforce has completed the UKATA Asbestos Awareness course. The course, delivered by Michelle, was hosted by Lindum Group and took place at Lindum Training Centre. It is a Category 1 course, which means it is designed to provide information on asbestos to people who may come across it. The course contents covered several interesting areas, including the history of asbestos and its use, the law and the adverse effects asbestos has on health. In the landscaping industry, we come across asbestos in several ways, especially during excavation activities where we may find asbestos containing materials in the soil. We have learned the procedures that must be followed to ensure safety and health and prevent the risk of illness from asbestos. The course ended with a test containing multiple choice questions.
Finally, this week we have completed our first ever project with a new client, T.G. Sowerby. The project is a residential development being built at Laughton Road in Blyton. We were contracted to remove the hedge. The project included a variety of landscaping activities, such as felling a tree using an access tower and a long pole chainsaw, removing the hedge using a chainsaw and removing the remaining stumps using a stump grinder. The works are being concluded today, and we look forward to working with T.G. Sowerby again in the near future.
Capacity Expansion Project
10th May 2019
As part of our overall business growth strategy, the company is running various internal projects in order to ensure that the demands of new and existing clients are met to the best standards. This week, we have achieved great results in some of these projects. We have engaged with Collaboration4Growth, a business support organisation part of the Lincoln BIG (Business Improvement Group) that provides business support to SMEs, including grant schemes for projects aimed towards growth. Also, we received our first review on Google from a valued customer of ours. And finally, we have been invited by Fentons of Bourne Ltd to attend Avant’s Road Show in June, where we will be looking at different attachments and their functions for our Avant 640.
We have submitted the grant application form to Collaboration4Growth, for a capital grant which will aid us in purchasing a new piece of equipment, a power box rake. The equipment will increase the efficiency of topsoil cultivation. This will benefit many areas of the business. With higher output being achieved in a shorter timeframe, we will be able to better manage customer satisfaction and ensure that we deliver the service our clients deserve. The new machine will also enhance our in-house training programme as operatives will be trained on how to operate the new machine. This will promote a learning attitude within the team, which will also be applied to improving existing skills and to learning new ones. Our pursuit to achieve the Investors in People accreditation will also be benefited from this.
As part of our SEO strategy, we have registered our company with Google, so that searchers can find more relevant information about us online, such as contact information, opening hours, location and reviews. This week, a valued customer of ours has submitted a 5 star review on our Google page, our first ever review. We are so delighted that this customer was happy with our service, and that yet again, we have achieved high customer satisfaction by giving our personal attention.
Fentons of Bourne, Avant – https://www.fentonsofbourne.co.uk/avant
Grant scheme opportunities – https://www.lincolnbig.co.uk/what-we-do/funding-opportunities/
Investors in People – https://www.investorsinpeople.com
Staff Development Strategy
2nd May 2019
As part of our business development plan, we have a staff development strategy. The strategy is in place to ensure continual development of our employees as well as increased departmental efficiencies and increased client satisfaction. With this strategy, we are also aiming to achieve one of our long-term goals to acquire the Investors in People accreditation, which is a lengthy but important and tangible goal.
The staff development strategy contributes to our overall organic growth strategy. Promoting from within plays a critical role in cultivating and maintaining our customer focussed culture. We recruit apprentices and identify their strengths and weaknesses and areas for future development. Some develop wider and more complex landscaping skills whilst others pursue different roles in management. The model we use for staff development involves a cycle of different stages: communication, assessment, internal training and external training.
Each person in the company is provided with a job description specifying their duties and responsibilities. The job description is communicated to each person during their induction, assessments or during changes of roles. Every person is then assessed periodically and a development discussion is followed. Both the employee and the employer have the opportunity to express their thoughts and feelings about the job and the workplace.
Once areas for development and training requirements are identified, the company provides an in-house training programme focused on the landscaping skills. Other specialist training is also arranged with external organisations. We are currently engaged with Riseholme College, who provides the apprenticeship in Horticulture to our apprentices who, once complete the programme, have the opportunity to develop further in different areas. Recently, the company has secured funding, and will soon engage with North Lindsey College who will deliver several short courses to the management team, with an aim to assist people to develop further in their roles and fulfil the staff development strategy.