New Forest School Blossoming At Hope House Thanks To Graduates

Work has begun on a new Forest School at Hope House Children’s Hospice, in Oswestry, thanks to a team of graduate trainees from Redrow.

Ten colleagues from the national homebuilder have cleared an overgrown area, built homes for wildlife and added a fire pit. They have also sourced fencing, a new gate and wheelchair friendly bench seating, which they will soon be returning to install.

Hope House and Tŷ Gobaith Children’s Hospices care for seriously ill children and their families across Shropshire, Cheshire, Powys and North Wales. They support 750 families and the new forest school area will provide a place for children and their families to spend time together and connect with nature.

In the weeks leading up to the project, the colleagues, who are all on Redrow’s graduate training programme, planned the work and sourced all materials on a zero budget, with help from donations by Redrow suppliers and contractors.

Heath Arnfield, hospice facilities manager, said: “We are so grateful to the Redrow graduates for all their amazing effort and help in starting work on Forest School at Hope House, and to Redrow and its suppliers for providing some much-needed materials and equipment.

“Forest School will allow the children, many of who have complex needs, to enjoy a rich sensory experience during their stays at the hospice.

“There are so many great benefits of Forest School which helps create a healthy physical, social and emotional development while also giving the children the opportunity to communicate, build confidence and generally improve their wellbeing.”

It costs £7.5 million every year to run Hope House and Tŷ Gobaith Children’s Hospices. Approximately two month’s income comes from statutory sources and for the other 10 months of the year they are dependent on public support.

Redrow graduate trainee Lauren Rees said: “Hope House is a charity that is very close to our hearts at Redrow and it is our Group charity of the year. Redrow staff have undertaken community projects here in the past and we were really keen to help out again when we heard about their plans for a forest school.

“We have sourced a new gate, fence and bench seating, tailored for wheelchair users, thanks to generous donations by our suppliers Landstruction , James Jones and Sons Limited, Miracle Design and Play and Idverde. We have also spent three days on site clearing the Forest School area, which had become overgrown, and removing 10 tonne bags of garden rubble and green waste.  While onsite, we created a fire pit area, where families can gather, and added bird boxes and insect ‘hotels’ to attract wildlife. We’ll be returning to the hospice in the coming weeks to assist with the installation of the fence and seating area.”

Many hours of preparation work and on-the-day volunteering were invested by the graduates, with in excess of £3,000 worth of materials donated to make the project a success.

Bethany Toomey, graduate programme manager at Redrow, said: “It’s been a real team effort by the graduates and three days of hard work onsite so far to create the new forest school area. They’ve utilised skills in problem-solving, procurement and negotiation, all of which are key elements to their graduate training programme. We’d like to thank Hope House for their invitation to help out and we really hope this area will be a great asset to the charity and be well-used by families in the future.”

Redrow’s graduates and Hope House have thanked the following companies and individuals for their generous contributions to the project:

  • James Jones & Sons Ltd and Landstruction for supplying the materials of two gates and 40m fence in total
  • Miracle Design and Play and Idverde who both supplied wheelchair friendly seating
  • The Fencing Bloke Company for providing time to support with the build of gate and fences
  • Pet Place for supplying wildlife habitats including hedgehog houses, bird boxes and accessories
  • Lex Autolease for use of a van throughout the duration of the project
  • Flintshire Crane Hire Limited for providing a flatbed lorry hire to transport larger materials
  • JCW Prints for providing branded Graduate Community Project apparel
  • Redrow area construction managers and site managers for providing safe waste disposal at local Redrow developments
  • Redrow apprentices and site operatives for building and supplying bird boxes

Redrow’s graduate community programme is well-established and, each year, a different project is chosen.

Redrow offers several different graduate training programmes, as well as its own sponsored degree programme for undergraduates, apprenticeships and other vocational training.

For more about Hope House visit www.hopehouse.org.uk

To find out more about graduate training opportunities with Redrow visit: www.redrowplc.co.uk/careers/early-careers/graduates

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