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Existing customers: 01438 717175

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Year: 2012

2012? It wasn’t the end of the world

I saw this bit of Eastern wisdom the other day – ‘If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.” A bit of truth there, I suppose, and yet there can be real value, at the end of the year, in taking a look back and weighing up the challenges and the successes.

For me, among many other activities, 2012 has been the year of the blog, and I must say I’ve enjoyed sharing my thoughts and experiences here over the year.

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The pleasure of rewarding our long-servers

It’s always great to be able to reward hardworking staff whose loyalty over long periods of time has served our company so well.

As the company grows we really do want to continue to recognise staff and the value that they add to the business with their support and loyalty. This is why we have developed long service awards for employees who have been with us for 10 or even 20 year periods.

The only caveat we put down is that the reward can’t be in actual cash. This year’s long service vouchers have been for such things as plants,

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Garden makeover for 100th birthday gift

Centenarian Joyce Law received a very welcome surprise 100th birthday present – a bouquet of flowers and a garden makeover, thanks to John O’Conner and social housing provider, Hightown Praetorian & Churches Housing Association.

Joyce, a keen and able gardener until last year, lives in a Berkhamstead basement flat managed by Hightown.   On hearing of Joyce’s great achievement, the Organisation contacted John O’Conner for some free advice and muscle.

This week, the John O’Conner team transformed Joyce’s garden – all the weeds and ivy were removed, the hedge was trimmed and a new easy maintenance garden was planted with stones for extra colour.

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What can we do about ‘Ash Dieback’?

‘Ash Dieback’ is such a cause of concern for our country, and its impact is being deeply felt in the UK horticultural industry.

The expression ‘prevention is better than cure’ really is jumping up to bite us now, but rather than get angry or resentful about what did or didn’t happen to stop this known disease from taking hold on these shores, we must look ahead and draw on all our resources collectively to see how much we can mitigate this potential catastrophe.

For those of you perhaps not completely familiar with what I’m talking about, let me give you a bit of brief background.

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John O’Conner helps Aylesbury school to transform wilderness into wildlife classroom

Bearbrook Combined School in Fowler Road, Aylesbury is turning a piece of woodland from a wilderness, into a wildlife haven and outdoor classroom; with a little help from some friends.   John O’Conner (GM) Ltd have volunteered to adopt the project with some help from our service delivery partner, waste management company, SITA UK

The idea to turn what was once an outdoor classroom back into its former glory was the joint dream of Headmaster Marcus Faulkner and teacher Kathryn Varnals.

The school, which is rich in wooded and natural green areas has in recent years focused on upgrading school buildings,

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Winner: St Albans Chamber of Commerce – CSR Business Award

More deserved recognition for ALL our teams!

I’m thrilled that John O’Conner has just won this prestigious award, recognising exceptional work on our St Albans contract.

If you’ve ever watched the Academy Awards you’ve probably cringed at the false modesty in some of the acceptance speeches (“This award is not for me, it’s for my producer, my parents etc”), but put that aside for the moment. As far as my fellow Directors and I are concerned, this award really is for all of our contract teams.

Corporate Social Responsibility is what makes us tick as a company and it is our true USP.

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John O’Conner recognised for community spirited approach in St Albans

John O’Conner (GM) Ltd, has won a prestigious local award in St. Albans.  The St Albans District Chamber of Commerce Community Business Awards recognise the contribution of business to the district’s community.  John O’Conner is the winner of this year’s Corporate Social Responsibility category.

The Award was presented at a special ceremony in St Albans on 27 September.  John O’Conner faced stiff opposition from other finalists, Barclay’s Bank and The Co-operative Bank.

The company’s community spirited activities include sports sponsorship, actively working with Friends groups to care for local beauty spots and providing dedicated work experience programmes.

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O’Conner on board!

Earlier this year Wayne Grills, Chief Operating Officer for BALI (British Association of Landscaping Industries) asked me if I’d consider putting myself up for nomination to become a member of the BALI board.

After some consideration I did make myself available and I’m now pleased to tell you that at the recent BALI AGM held at the SALTEX trade show I was voted onto the board.

Now, I look forward to joining the existing board members and other new recruits. Between us we will represent the many and diverse viewpoints of the landscape industry, from across the whole of BALI’s geographical membership.

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Our Summer of Summers

Well, summer 2012 is just about over and I don’t think many of us will forget it in a hurry!

The wettest drought on record followed by wettest summer for 100 years presented many challenges for our staff, on a daily basis, but true to form, they responded in gritty, down-to-earth John O’Conner style and came through it all with flying colours.

Despite serious difficulties with bizarre weather patterns, there have been celebrations on our contracts through the whole summer.

Once again, I’m delighted with the number of customers that we have helped to gain and retain coveted green flags for our lovely parks and open spaces this year.

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John O’Conner staff in Watford reach new heights to raise money for Peace Hospice

Well done to Paul Miller and George Potts from our Watford Community Housing Trust Contract, who, along with many other brave volunteers, abseiled 170ft down one of the Meriden high-rise blocks in Watford yesterday to raise money for the Peace Hospice.

The charitable event was organised in celebration of Watford Community Housing Trust’s fifth birthday.  The Peace Hospice cares for people with a life limiting or terminal illness. The money raised will help towards the £3.8 million in charitable income needed each year to run & develop their services in providing free care & provision to their patients and their families.

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