The Mersey Gateway Project

Mersey Gateway volunteering just the job for Karen and Yvonne

December 23, 2014adminNews
MG volunteers find work - Karen and Yvonne

Best friends Yvonne Meakin and Karen Nicholson both secured jobs with Merseylink after volunteering on the Mersey Gateway Project.

Two best friends from Runcorn have secured new jobs with Merseylink as the construction consortium expands its team.

Karen Nicholson and Yvonne Meakin, both from Runcorn, secured full-time jobs on the Mersey Gateway Project – just weeks after taking part in the new bridge construction consortium’s volunteer programme.

Yvonne has been appointed as PA to Merseylink’s project director, while Karen has joined as the team’s community liaison officer.

Karen and Yvonne previously worked together as civil servants in Runcorn for 15 years at the Department for Education, but left the DfE when it relocated from Runcorn to Manchester city centre.

Keen to give something back to the local community, the pair decided to join the Mersey Gateway volunteer scheme. The initiative trains up local people to help tell the story of Halton and the iconic bridge project. Karen and Yvonne both enjoyed the volunteer scheme so much they decided to apply for full-time jobs with the project.

Yvonne said: “It was Karen’s idea for us to volunteer with the Mersey Gateway Project. We’re both really inquisitive and thought it would be a great way to find out what was happening with the new bridge. It’s a fantastic development for Halton.”

Karen said: “I’m really enjoying being part of the project team and it’s amazing to be working with Yvonne again. When we started out as volunteers we never imagined that we’d end up working on the project, and we’re very excited to be part of the full-time team.”

Merseylink is continuing to look for new recruits to join its full-time team in a variety of roles, and has received nearly 2,000 applications from local people interested in different positions. Karen and Yvonne both submitted their CVs and each of them proved to be the best candidate for their new roles.

Richard Walker, Project Director at Merseylink, said: “The volunteer programme was set up to help local people improve their skills, confidence and employment prospects. The fact we have been able to employ two of our volunteers illustrates just how valuable the scheme is. I’m delighted to welcome Karen and Yvonne on board and I’m looking forward to working with them both.”

Cllr Rob Polhill, Leader of Halton Borough Council, and Chair of the Mersey Gateway Crossings Board, said: “This is an excellent example of how Halton residents can benefit from the training, employment and enterprise opportunities on offer through the Mersey Gateway Project.”

He added: “Whether it’s through volunteering, apprenticeships or direct employment, local people have an important part to play in the delivery of this iconic construction project. I’d encourage anyone interested to take up the chance to get involved.”

The economic, transport and social benefits that the project will bring to the region include:

  • 470 permanent full-time equivalent jobs on site during construction
  • 4,640 permanent direct and indirect jobs
  • £61.9 million a year in Gross Value Added from the new jobs by 2030.

When it opens in 2017, both the new bridge and the Silver Jubilee Bridge will be tolled, but they will be free* to all Halton residents.

If you would like to be considered for a role at Merseylink, please submit your CV to the Merseylink website. Find out more at

Halton Borough Council Mersey Link

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Mersey Gateway Project