MANN+HUMMEL UK in Burnley recently donated a Problem Solving Box to Cherry Fold Primary School in the town. The Problem Solving Box contains 32 challenges that are designed to help young people develop a multitude of life skills.

The idea to donate the box actually came from a MANN+HUMMEL team-building activity we organised in August. Over three days, a total of 90 employees visited Outdoor Elements, a local outdoor activity centre, to complete both physical and mental challenges – everything from crate building tasks to problem-solving puzzles. Everyone had a great time. The experience just emphasised how having a team of people who can work through problems logically allows for greater productivity, increased confidence and stronger teams.

Introducing the Problem Solving Box

While organising the days out, I learnt more about Outdoor Elements and some of the work they do. One of their outreach projects is based around a Problem Solving Box, which is a complete kit to facilitate problem-solving activities for groups. The box contains briefing cards for each task and facilitation guidelines. In fact, some of the problem-solving activities MANN+HUMMEL employees performed during our team-building sessions are mirrored on a smaller scale in the Problem Solving Box. For example, our employees were challenged to move different sized tyres along a series of poles, while only being able to put smaller tyres on top of larger ones. The Problem Solving Box has a similar puzzle using smaller dowels and wooden rings.

Cherry Fold Primary School

Outdoor Elements are keen to distribute the Problem Solving Boxes to local schools and youth organisations. They see the boxes as an excellent way for young people:

  • to gain confidence in their ability to make good decisions
  • to enhance their creative thinking which encourages the generation of new ideas, the ability to experiment and a willingness to take risks
  • to learn how to think a problem through logically, which reduces impulsive decision making
  • to work as part of a team and recognise different individuals’ strengths

And I agree! Establishing these skills at an early age can have a lasting impact. We want the young people of Burnley to thrive both in their education and life in general. Outdoor Elements were looking for local companies to sponsor these boxes and it was a logical step for MANN+HUMMEL to do so.

Presenting the box to the school

We decided to donate the box to a local primary school which, by happy coincidence, is linked to some of our employees. Therefore at the beginning of November Sarah Emmett, Production Operative, and I visited Cherry Fold Primary School to take part in the first session. The box was presented in school assembly and all the children and teachers were excited to receive the gift.

Cherry Fold-Grundschule

As the Assistant Headteacher explained, the problem-solving resources will be used as part of the school’s enrichment programme to develop skills such as communication, leadership, listening and patience. A class of eight year olds stayed after the assembly and we had great fun using the contents and completing the tasks. The children’s enthusiasm was contagious and the atmosphere reminded us both of our own corporate team-building sessions.

The children were so appreciative and both Sarah and I felt proud to have been part of this excellent initiative. We hope to sponsor another box next year to reach out to more children in the community.