Great Place to Work
Approach to charitable giving
We are working hard at developing a reputation as a great place to work. One of the things that sets us apart is the approach we are taking to charitable giving. We made a conscious decision to partner with an organisation that we felt was a good fit with our own. We chose Bridges to Prosperity (B2P).
Bridges to Prosperity
B2P visualises a world where poverty caused by rural isolation no longer exists. Their programs provide access to healthcare, education and markets by teaching communities how to build foot bridges over impassable rivers, in partnership with organisations and professionals. The value of their work is proven through a commitment to the community and its bridge that lasts long after the opening celebration.
In 2016 Raymond Brown Construction paired up with Tony Gee & Partners, a consulting engineer, to each send five employees on the B2P programme. Over two weeks in August and September, these ten employees went to Rwanda to work with the local community to build a suspension bridge at Kigohe. This bridge made it possible for 6,500 individuals to safely reach essential services throughout the year. Previously, a makeshift timber bridge, which frequently got topped out by high water or washed away completely, was the only crossing available to the agricultural community.
The team’s experience is documented in pictures on Facebook.
Once the teams had been selected, they were required to raise £13,000 before departing to Rwanda to cover the cost of air travel and in-country expenses such as transport and food. This target was achieved through a variety of fundraising events including bake sales, sweepstakes, a touch-rugby tournament and family fun day and by completing the Three Peaks challenge.
Before heading out to Rwanda the team all adopted key roles such as project manager, logistics manager and health and safety manager to ensure no detail was overlooked. They handled all aspects of construction and delegated tasks amongst themselves. Initial preparation and works were also completed by a local workforce prior to the team’s arrival.
After arriving in Kigohe, the first few days were spent safeguarding the existing makeshift bridge, excavating foundations and erecting the new scaffolding towers. As the first week drew to a close the cabling was set, the crossbeams erected and the rebar suspenders hung. During the second week, the team treated and installed the decking and fencing. Completing these tasks ahead of schedule gave them an opportunity to use the leftover materials to landscape the area surrounding the bridge.
One of the key challenges faced by the team was to overcome the language barrier with the local workforce. This was vital to the project’s success and enabled them to pass on valuable skills to the community to maintain the bridge and ensure its legacy for years to come.
During construction the team witnessed a 100 strong wedding party complete with bride, struggle to cross the existing bridge in their finest clothing. This moment made the team realise how important their work was and how much of a difference the new bridge would make.
With the inauguration day set, the team took advantage of the time leftover to take part in the tradition of Umuganda, when the last Saturday of every month is dedicated to supporting community projects. Our volunteers helped build a road to an isolated village.
At the bridge opening, the 2000 strong community gathered nearby to the site, with dignitaries in attendance including various government officials of Nyanza. After speeches and anecdotes were shared from both from Rwandan officials, as well as from B2P and the construction team, a ribbon was cut to raucous applause and the bridge was officially declared open.
Now they’re home
On returning to the UK, our team has been sharing their experiences around our business, laying the groundwork that will see us send a new team on another B2P adventure in 2017.