Volunteers have helped to create a spectacular new play garden at a Wearside respite centre for poorly youngsters.
Sunderland-based charity Grace House – which provides respite care for children with life-limiting disabilities in the North East – now has a new outdoor sensory play area with disabled access, thanks to volunteers from BAE Systems.
The work was carried out by over 50 volunteers from the company’s early careers programme, which includes apprentices and graduates from across the country.
BAE Systems is the UK’s largest manufacturing employer and is also the UK’s biggest employer of professional engineers and has a site in Washington.
Ranging in age from 17 to 27, the volunteers gained valuable experience in project management, leadership and teamwork.
Over two days the team of volunteers built four wheelchair accessible shelters which stimulate visual and auditory senses.
The new play area also has rope-and-log bridges, benches, plant boxes and play tunnels, built to help children with life-limiting disabilities enjoy more interactive outdoor experiences.
At the handover ceremony, Jane Morgan, Finance Apprentice at BAE Systems Land (UK), explained how rewarding staff had found the experience.
She said: “There has been a lot of planning involved to achieve this project, so it’s an incredible feeling to see it finished and hand it over to the children.
“This is a fantastic opportunity to give back to our local community in Washington where we are based.
“We have heard fantastic things about the support and care that Grace House provides, so it’s a privilege for us to work with them and improve their outdoor space for children and carers.”
Terry Cummings, apprentice manager at BAE Systems’ Washington site, added: “Investing in the communities where we live and work not only creates a better place for everyone, but it’s the right thing to do.
“I’m very proud of the work our growing team of apprentices and graduates has done here, as it will clearly make a positive impact on the children who come to Grace House.”
Volunteers from Grace House also supported the two-day project along with Splash Projects, who helped plan the activity, provided quality assurance and helped the volunteers lead and complete the project for themselves.