Bridge project teams help to build community spirit in Denton

AS work to replace a motorway bridge in Denton continues, the organisations behind the £23 million project are doing their bit to make a difference in the local community too.

This month marks a year since construction work commenced to replace the St Anne’s Road bridge over the M67 motorway, which is not expected to be complete until 2026.

National Highways say “good progress” has been made over autumn and into winter, ahead of the installation of two steel beams in the first part of this year which will help utility services such as water pipes and gas mains over the busy motorway.

But as it renews the key bridge for residents for the future, the team from National Highways and contractors Tilbury Douglas are also helping folk in the here and now through valuable community work.

Ensemble Theatre in Denton

They first helped Denton-based Ensemble Theatre group create a set for their summer production.

This extended to lending a helping hand for their December pantomime at Denton Festival Hall, assisting to create elements of the set, plus a lighting desk, to ensure the show could shine brightly over the festive season.

Keeping with the festive theme, volunteers also helped cook and serve 200 Christmas dinners for older people at Denton Luncheon Club, and donated raffle and bingo prizes to help ensure seasonal celebrations were a success.

Using shared skills and expertise, an unsafe and unused area at New Chapel Unitarian Church in Denton has also been transformed into a sensory garden for many community groups to enjoy.

The teams also built benches at Dane Bank Green Space in Denton, a newly-created wildlife educational beauty spot.

They also helped with other community initiatives throughout 2023, including Denton’s Party in the Park and celebrations to mark the Coronation of King Charles III.

Ensemble Inclusive Arts Director Janet Fagan, from Denton, has volunteered with all the projects and said: “The community of Denton including Ensemble Theatre, New Chapel Unitarian Church, Russell Scott Primary School, and Dane Bank Green Space are extremely thankful for all the time, dedication, experience, and effort the team of volunteers from Tilbury Douglas have given us for all of the projects.”

Denton North East councillor Denise Ward, who also founded the luncheon club, added: “The team have been helping volunteer with the luncheon club ever since the bridge work began.

“They help serve residents their dinners, clear tables and provide raffle prizes too, plus they’ve helped with our other community events, like Denton’s Party in the Park and community Coronation celebration, so we’re really grateful to them.

“They’ve also been brilliant at keeping residents informed about any works at the bridge.”

National Highways Programme Delivery Manager, Mangat Bansal, commented: “As part of our engagement with the community through the bridge scheme we became aware of various projects where we could lend a helping hand and make a real difference.

“It’s not just about building bridges and roads; it’s about being a good neighbour and helping locally where we can.”

Claire Firbank, of Tilbury Douglas, said: “As a business, Tilbury Douglas takes community engagement seriously and is proud to have made a difference in Denton and the surrounding area. We will continue to support great local causes throughout the project.

“We always enjoy attending and helping at Denton luncheon club, there’s always an amazing atmosphere. The Christmas party was brilliant, and the lunch was exceptional!”

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