Chris works as a grounds maintenance operative (skilled) in our grounds maintenance team.
What does a typical day for you look like?
My job varies massively depending on the season. At the moment, I start my day by getting my van, my team and my tools ready. Then I travel to the site I’m working on and do a full inspection before starting to landscape. As it’s winter, most of the work I do involves cutting back hedges, trimming flowers and tidying the edges of paths to make sure they look good and presentable.
However, in the summer, for example, my main jobs will be cutting grass, weeding, striping lawns and maintaining paths.
What did you do before you started at Silva?
Before I worked at Silva, I was actually a landscaper at LEGOLAND, working on maintaining the famous model village. But I first got into grounds maintenance as it massively helps me with my Tourette’s syndrome.
This is because I find that being outdoors and gardening is really calming and keeps me on a chill level which helps to reduce my tics and symptoms. I also just prefer to be working out and about in the fresh air rather than indoors each day.
What’s your favourite part of your job?
I really enjoy going into an area and just transforming it. I find it incredibly satisfying going to an area that needs some love and attention- within a couple of hours, myself and my team can turn it around to be looking great for everyone to enjoy.
I’ve also recently been enjoying the work we have been doing with planting wildflower areas around Bracknell. These are areas that will look incredible and colourful once all the flowers bloom and are great for the local environment. The public is also really keen on them, so we get a lot of compliments from them too!
What’s the most challenging part of your job?
I would say that the biggest challenge myself and my team faces is the number of areas we have that need maintenance. It doesn’t just involve houses, it also includes many large patches of grass on our estates and lots of trees as Bracknell still is very much a forest.
The weather is also a big factor in our work, particularly during summer. A few years ago, during a heatwave, most of the grass stopped growing which of course made our job a lot easier- minus working in the heat of course! But if we have a wet summer, that means my team has our work cut out as everything grows a lot faster.
Do you have any hobbies or things you like to do in your spare time?
I like to try out lots of different hobbies and sports. In the past, I’ve enjoyed things like archery and playing rugby. But my main hobby at the moment is powerlifting at the gym and training. It keeps me fit for my job and ensures I can use all the tools and machines without getting too tired.
I also find it use it’s great for my mental health too and can use it as a form of meditation. With my Tourette’s, I may not have control over certain aspects of my movement and my vocabulary. But while when I’m powerlifting, I am in full control and everything else just melts away. I also really enjoy the endorphins and always feel good after a workout.
If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?
I really like the idea of having the ability to control nature and make trees and plants grow at will. It would definitely help my job a lot!