Volunteering to make a difference in Fogwatt
SSEN's team using specialist equipment to clear trees and bushes surrounding Fogwatt Hall
Employees from Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) have given the village of Fogwatt a boost by volunteering to clear trees and bushes around the Fogwatt Hall.
The team of six employees took a day out of their normal roles, using specialist equipment to reduce the height of large trees surrounding the hall’s carpark, and remove scrub trees and bushes to bring light and safety to the local community.
As part of SSEN’s ‘Be the Difference’ programme, employees are encouraged to use a day of their time to volunteer and help local charities and communities of their choice.
The hall at Fogwatt is owned and managed by the community, benefitting from charity status to keep it financially viable. Over the last decade, the community has spent considerable time renovating and upgrading the hall’s insulation, heat and lighting as well as fitting a solar hot water system and a new solar PV system. This refurbishment work helps to make the hall more sustainable and provides a hub for the wider community to enjoy.
The hall itself is heavily used in the winter months by members of the Fogwatt community and beyond for various events including carpet bowling and the Woman’s Institute.
Jan Duncan, Secretary of the Fogwatt Hall Committee, said:
“Previously our hall carpark was surrounded by some large trees which provided shade to the carpark and caused us a problem in the winter months due to lying frost and icing. The fallen, decomposing leaves from the trees also created a slip hazard when blown around the carpark in late Autumn and Winter. Considering the age profile of our main users is quite high, we faced a real risk of a serious slips, trips or falls in the winter months.
“Thanks to the SSEN team’s hard work in reducing the height of the larger trees and removing some scrub trees and bushes, it has allowed more light to enter the carpark and will make such a difference during the winter months. The removal of the scrub trees will also dramatically remove the amount of broad leaves which decompose and cause a slip hazard. The finished article was most impressive with the carpark looking brighter and tidier than it has for a long, long time.”
Shona Horn, Customer Relationship Manager for SSEN’s North Caledonia region, added:
“We are proud to power our communities by providing a safe and reliable supply of electricity here in Moray, but we also value the opportunity to take a day of our time to volunteer in the communities in which we live and work. We are delighted to have helped the Fogwatt Hall Committee by using our specialist tree cutting equipment to provide a brighter and safer area surrounding the carpark. We hope this enables local community members to safely enjoy the hall all year round.”
Since the launch of the ‘Be the Difference’ volunteering programme, it has helped over 2,500 projects, with SSEN employees dedicating their time to projects that matter in their local communities.
Those who volunteered from SSEN’s tree cutting team include: Chris Laing, Craig McKenzie, Steven McFarlane, Bruce Gardiner, Robert Figura and Graeme McKenzie. SSEN’s Sandy Duncan, who is Chairman of the Fogwatt Hall, was also in attendance on the day helping SSEN’s team.