Kier charity event raises £500,000 for the nation's future

17/04/2018
Dom Browne

More than £500,000 was raised for the OnSide Youth Zones charity at an event organised by Kier and supported by leading companies in the highways sector.

As a result many more children in our country will have a safe space to spend time, to make friends, to engage in fun activities from arts to sports, to be accepted and taken seriously, and offered one-to-one time with professionals to talk about the issues they face. A space to be safe, a space to play, a space to talk. In short this means lives will be saved and areas of this country that previously had nowhere for them, have a place dedicated to them.

When Nick Hopkinson MBE took the stage in the candlelit dining room of the Park Royal Hotel in Stretton on Saturday many in the audience might not heard of him or his work with disadvantaged and vulnerable young people. By the end of the event they would be unlikely to ever forget him or the OnSide Youth Zones charity he works with.

Hoppy, as he is known, has the kind of fatherly, salt of the earth demeanour you perhaps only gain from rubbing shoulders with everyone from baronesses to the most vulnerable people in society and treating them all the same.

”Local

He took the microphone from Kier's Martin Duffy, who showed good form and good sport in helping jointly host the evening and even trying his hand at comedy. (Mr Duffy - a man with highways in his blood - couldn't believe his father had been accused of stealing from his traffic management company. However when he arrived home 'all the signs were there'.)

Hoppy said he was once asked for his fundraising 'elevator pitch'. He said simply: 'We save lives.'

OnSide Youth Zones are open to young people aged 8–19 years old or up to 25 for those with a disability. They cost £6.5m to open; however their impact on a community is priceless.

Hoppy told the audience of the OnSide Youth Zone in Wigan and how shortly after opening anti-social behaviour fell by some 78%.

He also told of how he had recently met an executive director at a major infrastructure firm, who after listening to what the charity can provide responded by saying: 'You have changed my life. I had no idea how much of an impact we can make.'

That man was Kier's David Wright.

While he may be used to leading, let no one say Mr Wright is not afraid to get involved and make sacrifices for his cause. If his trials and tribulations were televised they would no doubt be called: 'I'm director get me out of here.' 

Having raised £10,000 for OnSide Youth Zones by climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge, despite being afraid of heights, he will be shortly be packed off on a canoeing trip across Scotland for the charity, despite being afraid of water. Perhaps he will have to spend a night in some abandoned castle along the way. 

By the end of evening Mr Wright was somewhat speechless at the support the event had received, stating that when they organised the event somewhere in the region of £50,000 would have been considered pushing it. 'This feels like a dream' Mr Wright said, holding in his emotion.

”Local

Also taking the stage that evening was Alexander, a young man whose life has been demonstrably changed and expanded by the Youth Zones. Having met his heroes on Countdown and been taken to Old Trafford (he is by the way an Everton fan so if anyone can get tickets get in touch), his self-esteem and perspective on the world has grown as a result of his participation in OnSide's mentoring programme.

While Alexander is disabled and at first needed support to give him the confidence to get out there, his mentor told the audience she had been helped and learned as much from Alexander as Alexander had helped and learned from her.

The audience was also read the story of a young lady who suffered from depression and self-harmed. Only after coming close to suicide on a railway line did she start to receive the support she needed. One of the things that meant most to her after a life of being bullied and feeling like an outsider, was the acceptance and support she received from everyone at OnSide.

Her life has been turned around and she is free of self-harm for more than a year now. Saving lives is a daily routine for the people at OnSide but the impact it has on these children is nothing less than miraculous.

Finally, self-confessed 'gobby Northerner' Baroness Newlove took to the stage. In an emotional, heartfelt and utterly powerful speech the Baroness told the audience that it is not just money that can make the difference. You can make the difference every day in the way you lead, in the way you support people, she said, calling on us all to see people children not just for who they are but for what they could be. Her point cannot have been lost on the audience - charity does not just help realise the potential in others, it helps realise the potential in ourselves.

As the band played on, and evening came to end, Mr Wright was seen clasping many a friendly colleague and cutting a rug on the dancefloor. He has many a good day's work in his career, but few can have made such a difference as this one.

Highways was a guest of WJ UK for this event and we would like to express our gratitude for our seat at its table and celebrate its support of OnSide Youth Zones, which included donating prizes for the charity auction.

You can find out more about Onside Youth Zones and how to support their work here. 

Highways jobs

Utility Liaison Officer

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council
£31,434 - £34,986 per annum
You will also be responsible for agreeing all relevant inspection and permit fee charges with utility companies including... Kensington and Chelsea, London (Greater)
Recruiter: The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council

Assistant Director Planning & Transportation

Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council
£81,495 per annum 
Looking for a highly accomplished, ambitious and determined Chartered Town Planner to join the Growth Directorate’s leadership team.  Tameside, Greater Manchester
Recruiter: Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council

Transport Network Monitoring Officer

City of York Council
£10.30 per hour
Do you have previous knowledge/experience of Computer Network Transport Systems? York, North Yorkshire
Recruiter: City of York Council

Senior Planner

West Sussex County Council
£32,029 to £38,813 per annum
Do you have experience in working in a Transport Planning Environment? We are seeking a Senior Planner in the Planning Services function Chichester, West Sussex
Recruiter: West Sussex County Council

Conservation Design Ecology and Trees Team Leader

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£42,683 - £44,632
As Conservation Design Ecology and Trees Team Leader, your responsibilities will include... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Senior Highways Maintenance Technician    

Worcestershire County Council
£25,540 up to £27,229 (plus payment for occasional out of hours working) 
Using your knowledge and experience in highways maintenance you will support and advise your colleagues and contractors. Worcestershire
Recruiter: Worcestershire County Council

Driver/Attendant

Redbridge London Borough Council
£21,591 per annum pro-rated for 20 hours and term time.
Experience in transporting students or Special Clients such as elderly or persons with disabilities is preferred. Ilford, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Redbridge London Borough Council

Transforming Cities Fund (TCF) Programme Lead

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£48,172 - £49,047
This is an excellent opportunity for an individual with highly developed interpersonal, organisational and negotiation skills along with... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Engineer (Highways Scheme Design)

Medway Council
£31,888 - £37,646
To undertake day-to-day development and design of engineering schemes within the Highways Design group. Medway, Rochester
Recruiter: Medway Council

Principal Planner

West Sussex County Council
£39,782 to £42,683 per annum
Do you have experience working in a Transport planning environment? We have a vacancy in the Planning Services function Chichester, West Sussex
Recruiter: West Sussex County Council

Technical Assistant – Network Information and Compliance

North Yorkshire County Council
£18,426 to £22,021
Do you have experience of using, researching, interpreting and communicating about both legal and technical documents?  North Yorkshire
Recruiter: North Yorkshire County Council

Scottish Road Works Commissioner

Transport Scotland
£74,038 - £76,574
We are looking to appoint a new Scottish Road Works Commissioner for a maximum term of 5 years. Scotland
Recruiter: Transport Scotland

Senior Conservation Officer

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£32,643 - £45,704 depending on skills
Do you want to work in one of London’s most exciting historic environments, leading on listed buildings and conservation areas? London (Greater)
Recruiter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Project Engineer - Thirsk

North Yorkshire County Council
£24,313 to £34,788 
If you have experience in highway design and dealing with the public, we would love to hear from you.    Thirsk, North Yorkshire
Recruiter: North Yorkshire County Council

Senior Highways Operative

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£22,462 to £29,636
We are looking for Senior Highways Operatives. Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Climate Change Programme Manager

North West Leicestershire District Council
Band H, up to £42,683
North West Leicestershire is a great place to live, work and visit and we are clear about our ambition for the council to be carbon neutral by 2030. Coalville, Leicestershire
Recruiter: North West Leicestershire District Council

Director of Place

London Borough of Bexley
Starting salary £147k
This is a key leadership role within the organisation, with a varied portfolio that includes
Recruiter: London Borough of Bexley

Head of Parks & Countryside

Sheffield City Council
£69k to £74k (pay award pending)
We are seeking an experienced leader to drive forward the Parks & Countryside services on their improvement journey Sheffield, South Yorkshire
Recruiter: Sheffield City Council

Economic Resilience Project Development Manager (Town Centres)

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£42,683 - £44,632
We are looking for talented person to join our ambitious and highly collaborative team. Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Highways Operative

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£18,426 to £21,166
We are looking for Highways Operatives who have experience in a range of the following... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Highways on Fridays

Register now!

Latest Issue

latest magazine issue

COVID-19 recovery: legal advice and ‘golden rules’

Parking in the future city centre

Highways England and the new DMRB

A quest for the value of priceless View the latest issue

Latest Video