FFT Volunteers Transform Neglected Plot into Valuable Sensory Garden

Riverside School in Orpington is an inspirational place for pupils with special educational needs. The school aims to make sure that everyone who passes through leaves as confident, lifelong learners, who are set to succeed, flourish and leave their mark on society.

About the cause

In the school grounds sat a neglected plot of land that the school had visions of transforming into a valuable sensory garden for pupils.

The idea was that the newly rejuvenated garden would provide sensory stimulation, promote physical activity and participation, and help create a sense of community amongst the children.

How we helped

As part of our Twenty for Twenty programme, we gave all our staff two paid working days to spend on a volunteering project. Together, 12 of them formed a team to tackle the overgrown plot so that it would do the school proud.

The team was faced with quite a hard day’s graft, with walkways to jet wash, lots of overgrowth to clear and several wooden flower beds to strip back, sand down and stain before replanting.

But their enthusiasm and commitment shone through and, by the end of the day, not only had the team created a beautiful garden, they’d also planted a brand new vegetable patch for the school’s pupils to tend to and use the produce in their community café, the Riverside Lounge.

The gardening team headed into the job armed with all the tools, soil and plants and vegetables needed courtesy of FFT funding through the Twenty for Twenty programme.

The outcome

Riverside School now has its very own sensory garden where pupils can learn important life skills. As the children spend time in the garden, waiting for seeds to sprout and flowers to bloom, they get to develop an understanding of time and develop virtues such as persistence and patience.

Our social value commitment

Riverside School has a vision of making sure their pupils become confident, lifelong learners with everything they need to succeed and flourish.

This is a vision that fits well with our own of helping children and young adults to build their confidence and realise their full potential in all aspects of their lives.

We have worked on a number of support initiatives with Riverside School, and we consider our long term relationship very valuable.