The team working on the major revamp of M25 junction 10 at Wisley in Surrey is helping to create a new sensory garden for autistic adults nearby at Stonepit Close in Godalming, Surrey.
National Highways, Balfour Beatty and other supply chain partners have joined forces with the National Autistic Society and social enterprise The Glasshouse over four days to work together on this very worthy initiative. Thanks to donations from the supply chain and the work of 80 volunteers, the garden and outdoor areas at Stonepit Close will be developed with a shared aim of enabling autistic people to explore their senses in a safe and stimulating environment.
Stonepit Close is two large houses side by side, designed specifically for adults aged 30 to 65 years. In 2022, Stonepit Close needed support in revitalising its outdoor space to become a more enjoyable garden catering for specific needs, including a sensory garden and easy to maintain space for the staff to maintain. This newly developed outdoor space will improve life of autistic people for years to come.
Volunteers will work in five different green areas which surround two houses. In total, the team will contribute 365 hours of volunteering across the four days. The team will also work and support 15 women from a local prison to help them to develop some re-employment skills and experience.
This new garden will include different surfaces, plants, and objects in order to stimulate their senses trough touch, sight, scent, taste, and hearing. Over £6,000 in-kind donations have been made from supply chain partners in goods, materials and labour that will help to develop the garden. Once complete, around 125 individuals will be able to enjoy it.
Simon Elliott, National Highways senior project manager said: “We are really grateful for the chance to help The Glasshouse on this very worthy cause. When we heard how crucial things like relaxing and stimulating outdoor places can be for autistic people, we and our supply chain partners were really keen to lend a land. I would like to thank all of our supply chain partners, including our main contractor Balfour Beatty, for helping to make this happen. We are civil engineers by trade, and it is really good to be able to put our skills to good use.”
Howard Williams, Balfour Beatty Project Director added: “We are delighted to have played a part in constructing this beautiful sensory garden for the National Autistic Society alongside our longstanding customer, National Highways, and The Glasshouse.
“At Balfour Beatty, we’re committed to leaving a lasting, positive legacy for the communities in which we embed ourselves and we hope that this unique facility will provide residents of Stonepit Close with a new therapeutic place to relax, take time out and enjoy their surroundings.”
Kali Hamerton Stove, Co-founder and Managing Director of The Glasshouse commented: “The Glasshouse is all about making positive change through plants, nature and education. Working with these incredible partners offered a brilliant opportunity for our teams of women. This project demonstrates how the learning and work experience we provide can change lives, giving women in prisons the chance to make a difference and improve their lives and the community around them.”
National Highways says donations to help with the redevelopment of the garden were gratefully received by Danny Sullivan, Fortel, Cusack, Hercules Site Services, Bouygues, Lynch, Jewsons, Chevron, Tillhill, Littlewood Fencing and Chaffin Works.
(Picture – Stonepit Close in Godalming, courtesy of National Highways)