For the past few weeks staff from Barratt Homes and David Wilson Homes in South Wales have been helping create something very different from the homes they usually build.
They have been creating an amazing sensory garden for a school in Penarth – Ysgol y Deri – a school which is a dedicated, positive and welcoming school that supports a wide and diverse range of pupils with specialist needs from ages three – 19 years old.
Around 60 staff from all departments have been involved from the directors to sales advisors, land buyers and technical staff.
I usually work as one of Barratt’s PR consultants and once I heard about the project offered my services as one of the volunteers.
While building workers and contractors worked on features such as a pergola, amphitheatre and tactile areas for the pupils to enjoy, I joined members of the sales team creating flower beds and beginning the process of planting hundreds of plants.
After days of wonderful sunshine the weather broke and we spent hours in the pouring rain moving soil from a massive mound into newly created flower beds.
It was heavy work but the four of us worked as a great team and created what we thought were pretty impressive flower beds.
Then it was onto the work of planting – as a keen gardener I thought this would be pretty easy work. I hadn’t counted on the rain getting heavier and making the already heavy clay soil even more difficult to work with.
But the sense of achievement was immense once we had created an amazing smelling herb garden and planted around 200 plants in the large borders. The plants were all selected by the architect to be safe for children. Nothing could be toxic, nothing spikey and plants have all been chosen to be safe for the children.
It was amazing to be involved in such a massive team effort from the volunteers who were there on day one clearing the site through to those creating the features and then those of us involved in the finishing touches.
It was great team work from start to finish and I can’t wait to see the finished garden when it’s officially open next month.