Holding staff and Board engaged volunteer support

 Our job was to level the field, apply calcium and lay new sod

On May 10th, the Barenbrug Holding employees engaged in their first Helping with Hands (HwH) project. The participants were Simone, Yvette, Robert, Marty, René, Bas, Frank and John (Wei Fu was still on maternity leave).


Facilities for severely handicapped children

We picked a location called ‘Bio Vacation Foundation’ (www.stichtingbio.nl). This site is located in Arnhem, not far from where Barenbrug was founded over a hundred years ago. It offers a variety of holiday and leisure facilities for families with severely handicapped children.  This foundation greatly depends on volunteer support because
it is underfunded. Barenbrug Holding offered to renovate two playgrounds which are part of the site. This part of the premises was in bad shape and urgently needed some new grass to make it safe and fun for children to play on.


We inspected the area a few months before and made a thorough plan to make sure that this part of the premises would have good grass to play on for many years to come. We asked Barenbrug Research to till the field
 with one of their tractors the day before. Our job was to level the field,
apply calcium and lay the new sod. We approached one of our sod farm
customers and got a good deal on 1,800 sq. metres of sod.


This was all the motivation we needed

We arrived in the morning and first of all were welcomed and given a presentation by the management of the foundation. It was moving to see
how important this facility is for families with severely handicapped children. Seeing the smiles on these kids’ faces when they get to play,  swim or even ride horse with their families is heartwarming. This was all the motivation we needed to quickly get started.  The weather was near perfect, with a temperature of 23 degrees and some high clouds.


The amount of pallets of sod looked a bit intimidating at first, but we
started in good spirits with high energy. The resident groundsman was there to help and give directions about how he wanted the playgrounds to look. The start was a bit rusty  -we soon found out that laying sod is quite different to writing a five year plan or consolidating quarterly figures J.  But after 15 minutes or so we had a system worked out and everyone had a job to do.


Three Barenbrug generations

After about an hour , Bert and Dorothé Barenbrug came by to see what we were doing. Bert even put his time in and helped with some ground work. It was great to see the third and fourth Barenbrug generation working side by side on this project. The pace slowed down a little, but
luckily lunch was provided by the staff of Bio Foundation and the break
was welcome. The brand new HwH shirts were not as crisp anymore, sweat and dust certainly left their marks. After lunch we had a short tour of the facilities and the MD pointed out building renovation projects done by previous volunteer groups. 


The rolls with sod got heavier as the day progressed

The sod was calling our names, so we got back to work. It seemed as if the rolls with sod got heavier as the day progressed, or maybe it was our muscles getting weaker. But we got another boost when Ingeborg Barenbrug (Bastiaan’s wife) arrived with their two daughters bringing drinks and snacks. The fifth generation also laid some sod and helped roll
out the new lawn.  This action mean that three generations of the Barenbrug
family participated on the day in this project, showing their commitment to
the Helping with Hands initiative.

We finished both playgrounds in the afternoon, but had quite some sod left over. The groundsman had several ideas what to do with the left over sod, so we helped him transport it to the location where he could make good use of it. We also gave him a few bags of the finest Barenbrug Grass seed for ongoing maintenance. When we found out that they did not have enough hoses and sprinklers to keep the sod wet, we made some phone calls to arrange this for them as well.


We all were tired but very satisfied.

The Bio team was extremely happy with the outcome of our project and we all were tired but very satisfied. The day concluded with a few cold beverages. We can conclude that this HwH project was a great success and we know that the special guests of Bio Foundation will enjoy the newly renovated playgrounds for many years to come.