A team listen to briefing ahead of volunteering activity

More than 30 Tate & Lyle Sugars employees recently participated in a Community Green Space Day, volunteering their time and effort to start the transformation of a neglected green space near to our Thames Refinery in Newham into a vibrant area for our neighbours to enjoy. The event was a collaboration with our partners at Royal Docks Learning & Activity Centre (RDLAC) – a local charity dedicated to enriching life in Newham – as well as a local architecture firm, MUF Architecture.

Team of volunteers build a mould for rammed earth plinths

The volunteers built “rammed earth” plinths using sustainable methods. “Rammed earth” is a method of building walls by compacting damp soil, clay or other natural materials between temporary formwork panels. To ensure the quality of the clay, mixes of sand and calcium carbonate were tested. We also built a small-scale model of the plinths to be constructed on-site using a ratio of one part clay to two parts sand and calcium carbonate – a byproduct of part of the sugar refining process, which we were happy to provide for this activity. This allowed us to create beautiful bases for mosaics. By incorporating elements of rammed earth, we are on the path to transforming the space into a small parklet or sculpture garden that celebrates local landmarks like the Brick Lane Music Hall through custom-made mosaics.

“Participating in the Community Green Space Day was an incredibly fulfilling experience. Working alongside dedicated volunteers and witnessing the positive change we made together was truly inspiring. I’m grateful to have been part of this effort to enhance our local environment.” Natalia Zolkowska, Corporate Affairs Intern

Team members use wooden sticks to break up lumps of soilThe site faced challenges such as overgrown weeds and frequent vehicle backing. Our approach aimed to address these issues by enhancing the quality and diversity of the planting and providing practical seating while also protecting the area from vehicle damage.