Terry Usher, our Quality and Development Manager, reports on two fantastic sessions where business has really engaged with the local community in helping Wirral Autistic Society with two of our projects at the Raby Hall site.

BT Volunteer day

On Thursday and Friday 3rd and 4th September 2015, Steve, Alan and the team from BT kindly volunteered two days of their time to help start work on our re-designed duck area as part of our on-going refurbishments of Raby Kitchen Gardens.

The guys started by removing all flags from the area and emptied the pond using a pump, removing all debris and transporting it to the skip. A 30 metre trench was then excavated for a drain to be installed, to improve drainage of the area. In total, around 100 flag stones were removed. Heavy work!
The island in the middle of the pond was removed manually and the soil transported to be stored; around 6 tons in total.

The aim of the new duck pond area is to have a natural habitat for our ducks to live as well as providing a safe and friendly environment for our service users to maintain and enjoy.
We would like to thank the team from BT and all involved for their fantastic work during their time with us. From start to finish they were an incredible group of volunteers. We really do appreciate your time and very considerable effort in assisting us with this project. It will provide pleasure and very meaningful activities for the service users who visit the Raby Hall site for many years to come.

Biffa Volunteer Day

On 22nd July 2015, Peter Lunt and a team from Biffa team kindly volunteered to help install new pathways for our new pig pen areas. As a team, the guys from Biffa worked alongside our service users and staff to put the finishing touches to the area. This was the second visit from Biffa, who spent a day in 2014 assisting us to maintain paths in the woodland, and a very welcome return it was too.

Peter and the team dug out a new pathway to allow easy access to our new pig enclosures. The paths were built up in layers, starting with weed control fabric, hard core, then a top layer of quarry dust. All work was completed by hand and required a great effort from all involved.

As part of our on-going refurbishments, the pig pens have been re-designed to create an autism friendly environment, which allows our service users who experience sensory differences to have a positive experience in an agricultural setting.
The pens have been specially adapted to make the area more accessible to both service users and staff. The aim is to promote greater social inclusion in group settings and a positive and enjoyable experience, as well as maintaining high standards of welfare for the animals.

On behalf of the service users and staff at the Raby Kitchen Garden, we would like to take this opportunity to thank the volunteers from Biffa for returning to help us and for all their hard work and effort. The team worked with great enthusiasm and showed tremendous energy throughout the day. The work completed will offer increased opportunities to so many more of our service users.