Persimmon boss praises colleagues for 'outstanding' pandemic effort

The head of housebuilding giant Persimmon has praised colleagues for their "outstanding" work to help local communities get through the coronavirus pandemic.

Actinghead teacher, Tim Broad, visited his local Persimmon site to ask if hecould borrow safety barriers

The York-based firm decided that its Community Champions scheme could offer vital support to groups helping the over 70s during the Covid-19 emergency.

The firm has helped a number of Yorkshire groups, including the Hull & East Riding Live at Home Scheme, Moor Allerton Elderly Care, Alzheimer’s Society West Yorkshire, MHA Doncaster Communities Live at Home, Brass and Edgehill Community Association.

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Chief executive, Dave Jenkinson, said: "I'm really proud of our staff. If you look on social media it comes across what they've done to support the communities in which we operate. We've also supported over 70 charities.

"It's important we play our part in wider society, in our local communities."

Persimmon has also donated £50,000 to homeless group SASH UK.

Emma Bracegirdle, fundraiser for SASH UK, said: “SASH works to prevent homelessness in young people aged 16 to 25 throughout North and East Yorkshire.

“There are many vulnerable young people across the region that need our support, now more than ever. Thanks to Persimmon's donation, and together with our volunteers, we will help support these young people to lead positive, independent lives and prevent the cycle of homelessness before it begins.”

The firm has also been answering ad hoc requests from local schools and communities.

Keen to ensure safety and social distancing at his school during the Covid-19 pandemic, acting head teacher, Tim Broad, visited his local Persimmon development to ask whether he could borrow some of the safety barriers being used on the site.

Mr Broad, acting head teacher at Western Primary School, said: “As we reorganised the school for its reopening we felt we needed more visual barriers to help define the segregated areas, rather than simply cones or marked out lines on the ground.”

Persimmon immediately agreed and its barriers are now being used to create a one-way system in the playground so parents can safely pick-up and drop-off their children. In addition, part of the playground has been sectioned into three clearly defined areas so that more than one group of children can safely use the outdoor space at any time.

Mr Broad added: “The Persimmon Homes team have certainly gone above and beyond to help us. They not only disinfected 30 barriers in advance but delivered and helped to put them up for us, wearing safety gloves the entire time.

“This is an unprecedented time for us all, but the safety of our pupils and their families is our priority. Persimmon Homes has clearly demonstrated its support for the local community and our school and we can’t thank them enough.”

Persimmon is covering the hire cost of the barriers.

Martin Fairbrother, assistant site manager at the Persimmon Homes King Edwin Park development, said: “We were more than happy to help Western Primary School. We are all living and working in these strange times and believe it is important to support others where you can.”

Persimmon said it has answered appeals for help from many communities. The Yorkshire team helped to establish a response hub in the community, based at Pocklington Rugby Club.

The Pocklington Rugby Club in the Community (PRITC) charity opened up the clubhouse as an emergency response hub for the community, working in partnership with East Riding of Yorkshire Council, The Peoples Pantry, HEY Smile Foundation, the Covid-19 groups in the area, local pharmacies and local businesses.

A key issue became the long term sustainability of The Peoples Pantry and PRITC offered to develop a permanent home for the pantry at the club, just a mile from Persimmon Home’s development The Mile.

PRITC then turned to Persimmon for help in carrying out the work needed to create a permanent base for the pantry and other community organisations.

Scott Waters, managing director of Persimmon Homes Yorkshire, said: “We have developed some strong links with community groups in our area through our charity initiatives and we were delighted to be able to offer our support in terms of materials and expertise.

“We admire the work that is being done by the community hub and wish them all the very best in their work supporting vulnerable people in these very difficult times.”