Champion of the Week
Peter Botham, Managing Director – Shed Grounds Maintenance
Hello, I’m Peter, the founder and Managing Director of Shed Grounds Maintenance, an award-winning independent grounds maintenance company based here in Derbyshire, serving clients on a nationwide basis.
Born in Chesterfield, I went away to study horticulture and started my career working for commercial landscapers and grounds maintenance businesses predominantly in the South. After years of working in the field, I envisioned a grounds maintenance company that prioritised exceptional service quality and customer care above all else, and in 2003, Shed was born.
From the humble beginnings of one man and a van, we’ve grown into a thriving nationwide operation serving a wide-ranging variety of businesses. At Shed, we take pride in putting our customers first, regardless of their size, caring for individual businesses through to extensive multi-site portfolios. Over the past two decades, we’ve been fortunate to retain many of our first clients, a testament to the loyalty and trust they place in us. We are proud of our growth which has been achieved by the commitment of our dedicated team of professionals.
Beyond our work, I’m also an avid cyclist, having completed the Land’s End to John O’Groats route three times over the years, raising funds for local charities such as Ashgate Hospice and the Air Ambulance.
What was the greatest achievement for your organisation over the past year?
Our most significant achievement this year is the celebration of our 20th anniversary. We decided to mark this milestone by recognising the clients that have supported us on our journey and launched our ’20-20-20’ scheme.
As a heartfelt thanks to our clients, we are donating 20 native trees to 20 of our longest serving clients, celebrating our 20 years in business. And for every tree we plant we will contribute £100 to chosen charity for this year, Ashgate Hospice. This initiative not only signifies our appreciation for our clients but also showcases our commitment to environmental sustainability. It’s a meaningful way for us to give back while commemorating our two decades in the industry.
How would you describe Chesterfield and North Derbyshire, using only three words?
Hilly, Home and Beautiful.
What are your favourite places to visit in Chesterfield and why?
One of my cherished spots in Chesterfield is Queen’s Park. It’s not just a picturesque place; it holds a treasured memory for me. When I was a child, my godparents would take me on the charming little train track that winds its way around the park. Now, as a parent, I’ve had the joy of passing on this tradition to my own children, creating new memories with them, taking them on the very same train track. Queens Park is more than just a park; it’s a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of Chesterfield, offering a peaceful escape for people to treasure.
How is your business becoming more sustainable?
Sustainability is at the heart of our approach at Shed and we are proud to have achieved ISO 14001 certification, a testament to our environmental responsibility. To reduce our environmental footprint, we’ve implemented multiple initiatives. Firstly, we’ve been proudly paper-free since 2019, reducing unnecessary waste and resource consumption. We’re also making strides in our vehicle fleet by adopting electronic vans and company cars, a move we plan to expand upon further. Our commitment to sustainability extends to our operations; utilising battery-operated machinery and equipment, reducing our reliance on traditional power whilst reducing emissions and noise disturbance.
To engage our clients in our mission, we’re now offering bug hotels, encouraging them to contribute to the environment as well. We believe it’s these collective small measures that will make a substantial impact in the long run
Why do you love working in Chesterfield or North Derbyshire?
Chesterfield has and always will be a great location, one of the key reasons we cherish this location is its superb connectivity. Being strategically situated near a motorway makes it incredibly convenient, especially for a company like ours that’s often on the move. The ease of access to various places is a major advantage. Derbyshire is also a great place to recruit dedicated and hard-working talent.
Chesterfield’s natural beauty adds immense value to my workdays. The picturesque views make every workday just that little bit better! Chesterfield isn’t just a workplace; it’s a vibrant, lively community. Its dynamic atmosphere makes every day here enjoyable and full of life, creating a inspiring work environment.
How are you supporting young people in your business, and why is this so important in helping to reduce skills gaps across the property sector?
We’re extremely committed to nurturing young talent at Shed. We actively engage in apprenticeships, recognising that school might not be the ideal path for every young person. Personally, I can empathise because I was one of those individuals. Traditional education didn’t resonate with me, but I thrived in a hands-on, outdoor environment. I wish that when I was younger, I had the same opportunities as what Shed offers, which is why I continue to search for apprentices to welcome to the Shed family as I can relate to them.
Supporting apprenticeships isn’t just about filling skills gaps; it’s about providing an alternative, valuable, and practical route for young people to discover and develop their talents, just as I did. It’s about empowering them with practical skills and opening doors to a fulfilling future, which I consider a vital investment in both their lives and the future of our company.
We also provide work placements for students from the local school, giving them the opportunity to experience what life could be like in a horticultural environment.
How is your business working to drive forward further investment in Chesterfield?
We have a continuous expansion plan in place at Shed, which drives us to constantly evolve and grow. Chesterfield has always been central to our strategy; we actively seek ways to bring new businesses into the area and expand our team with local talent. Many of our employees live right here in Chesterfield, and as our projects multiply, so does our need for skilled staff.
In addition to employment, we’re deeply involved in various contracts within the town, including significant projects like the Chesterfield Royal Hospital. We believe in the potential of Chesterfield; it’s a thriving town on the rise. We aim to contribute to this growth by showcasing the town’s natural beauty through our work. By highlighting the town’s charm, we hope to attract more people to explore and invest in Chesterfield, further fuelling its growth and development.
Which upcoming development do you think will have the greatest impact on the town and why?
I’m particularly enthusiastic about our involvement in the Chesterfield Waterside development plan. This scheme, in my opinion, holds immense potential to attract more people to Chesterfield. Whether it’s through new housing initiatives or providing a platform for individual businesses to flourish, this development is a game-changer. Personally, I’m dedicated to ensuring the grounds of this site are nothing short of spectacular. By contributing to the aesthetic appeal and functionality of the area, I believe we’re not just evolving Chesterfield but also boosting the local economy significantly. It’s a thrilling prospect to be part of something that promises growth, vitality, and a vibrant future for our town.
What is your vision for Chesterfield and North Derbyshire in 2030? What do you think the town needs to achieve this?
Chesterfield has always been a hidden gem, often overlooked. My vision for the town in 2030 is to change that narrative. I believe we need to attract more people to Chesterfield, introduce them to its unique charm, and help them fall in love with the area. As a result, we can anticipate an increase in residents, providing a larger local talent pool for us to tap into for employment. Moreover, by drawing more businesses to the area, we can expand our Shed family.
However, the key lies in increasing footfall, and showcasing its inherent beauty. My commitment is to continue enhancing Chesterfield’s appeal, contributing to the town’s well-deserved recognition and prosperity in 2030 and making it a place people not only visit but also choose to call home.