Volunteers join forces to harvest the rain

31st March 2023

An army of volunteers and apprentices joined forces at a ‘Ground Force’ style event to introduce a new rainwater harvesting system at Hassall Green nature reserve in Sandbach yesterday, Thursday 30 March.

The former landfill site is now operated by the Land Trust with support from volunteers and has become a flourishing nature reserve featuring wildflower meadows and woodland surroundings – but the two hectare site was lacking a water supply until United Utilities and Wain Homes stepped in with support.

Stuart Edwards from United Utilities’ Sustainable Development team explained: “The remote nature of the site meant that it would have been very expensive to introduce a drinking water supply, so when we realised this wasn’t needed, we were delighted to help the Land Trust introduce a rainwater harvesting system and provide the water butts they needed.”

United Utilities were already liaising with Wain Homes on a nearby development at Lawton Green and when they found out about the project, they jumped at the chance to get involved. As well as designing the rainwater harvesting system, they gave eight of their apprentices the opportunity to get involved.

The apprentices worked with a team of the Land Trust’s Green Angels volunteers to install the system in just one day.

Marcus Maughan, Engineering Manager at Wain Homes explained: “Wain Homes is always keen to support the communities in which we build and we are proud to support the Land Trust. It was also an ideal interactive project for our apprentices to gain some real-life construction experience.

“A team of apprentice joiners and plumbers tackled the project with pride and professionalism and we look forward to the solution benefitting the fantastic work of site users for years to come.”

Hassall Green is home to wildlife including great crested newts, grass snakes, hedgehogs, rabbits, badgers, bats and owls as well as rare orchids and other wildflowers. Green Angels is the Land Trust’s award winning free environmental training programme delivered on Land Trust sites across the country, including Hassall Green.

Rebecca Mooney, Green Angels Project officer based at Hassall Green said: “This project will enable site users to have access to rain water to help maintain a variety of areas on site for years to come.

“We recently built a variety of raised beds that the Friends of Hassall Green Nature Reserve maintain. The rainwater harvesting system will enable the group to maintain these beds all year round without the need for them to bring water to the site.

“The rainwater harvesting system will also serve as an educational tool, allowing the Land Trust and our managing partner, Groundwork, to educate site visitors on the importance of rainwater harvesting and the environmental benefits that come with it.”

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