News release
30 October 2019

Mersey Gateway team celebrates a successful year of community projects through Time Bank initiative


Community gardens, patios and play areas are being given a new lease of life across Halton with the support of the Mersey Gateway team’s Time Bank initiative.

Time Bank is a way for merseyflow, the Mersey Gateway Bridge tolling operator and merseylink, the project company responsible for the provision and operation of the assets, to demonstrate their commitment to the local area and provide practical help and support to schools, colleges, charities, and community groups.

The initiative involves members of the merseyflow and merseylink teams reviving gardens, patios and play areas for charities across the community, including the Warrington & Halton Hospitals’ Charity, Westfield Community Playgroup and LOOSE Charity.

The Warrington & Halton Hospitals’ Charity raises funds to provide additional comforts, care or experiences for the direct benefit of patients and their families beyond that which the NHS provides. The project for WHH Charity involves members of the merseyflow and Merseylink teams reviving gardens around the Halton Hospital, with the addition of brightly painted furniture, beautiful birdhouses and blooming flowers.

Helen Higginson, Head of Fundraising at The Warrington & Halton Hospitals’ Charity, said: “The project is hugely beneficial for our patients and their families. By creating fabulous gardens to enjoy, our patients can feel more at home. We’re incredibly grateful for all of our project volunteers who are giving up their time to take on the challenge.”

Westfield Community Playgroup, which is used by children aged two to five years, also welcomed the team’s enthusiasm to revitalise its play areas with a new wooden kitchen, sandpit sunshade, outdoor tap, concrete flags and a fresh new look for their play equipment.

Patricia Anderson, Playgroup Manager, at Westfield Community Playgroup, said: “We would like to thank the Mersey Gateway team for all they have done for us through the Time Bank initiative. By helping us to enhance these areas the children who use the playgroup will enjoy many hours of quality play and learning.”

LOOSE is a Registered Charity based in Widnes, and it runs The Studio which provides the community with access to theatre, music and the creative arts. A wide range of local people use the facilities, including people with mental health issues or learning disabilities. The Mersey Gateway team renovated a small area of land at the rear of The Studio, which now features an attractive garden for service users to enjoy.

Louise Nulty, Studio Project Manager at LOOSE Charity, said: “To have the support of Time Bank to transform our back space into a welcoming, attractive haven is fantastic. It has rewarded and inspired volunteers of all ages - one volunteer has even bought a pizza oven for the area! The revived area lifts everyone who attends, especially those who have seen it over many years. They can't believe the change and the fact that it is now a useable and beautiful place for our visitors.”

The team has provided hundreds of hours of volunteering and over 50 volunteers for the initiative throughout 2019.

Karen Atherton, Network Steward at Merseylink, said: “It’s been a fantastic year for the Time Bank scheme. Over the summer, the team really enjoyed projects from enhancing the play area for Westfield Community Playgroup to creating a garden area for LOOSE Charity. We look forward to welcoming even more projects on board in the new year, when we relaunch the Time Bank application scheme for 2020.”

Beatriz Fuentes, Head of HR at merseyflow, said: “We are proud to support the work of amazing local charities through the Time Bank initiative. Getting involved in the community challenges has brought our team together and provided the opportunity to engage with volunteers.”

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