Volunteers help to keep students safe by creating an edible sensory garden at Henshaws Specialist College

Ten volunteers from global food and agriculture company Cargill gave up their time for Henshaws last week to continue work on the Harrogate specialist college’s sensory garden.

The new garden will provide a safe and relaxing sensory space for students as part of Henshaws Starting Point, a specialist centre for young people with autism.



All the plants in the garden will be edible including a range of herbs and vegetables so the garden is safe for students who have pica. This is a condition that can be associated with some individuals who have autistic spectrum condition which causes them to seek out and eat items with strong flavours which could lead to harm.

The volunteers, who are mostly based at Cargill’s Thirsk office, put in six hours of hard graft to help the garden to take shape. They put up new perimeter fencing, erected a wooden gazebo and also filled some of the garden’s raised beds with compost.

Dionne Torkington-Craven, Management Assistant at Cargill, said:

Our team had a great day helping out with this project for Henshaws. We are all really pleased to be associated with such a worthwhile charity.

The garden has been designed using guidelines from the National Autistic Society to ensure it meets the needs of students who may be diagnosed with autism, or have similar characteristics along with wider additional needs.

Specialist features will include a safe surface play area with a swing for students who are sensory seekers and enjoy the motion of rocking backwards and forwards, covered seating areas to create sheltered safe spaces and level paths and ramps for accessibility.

The garden will also be fitted with artificial turf and lights so students can enjoy the maximum use of it throughout the year.

Volunteers from Cargill help to shape edible sensory garden at Henshaws Specialist College. Team from left to right: Norman Downey, Ben Rogers, Dionne Torkington-Craven, Anita Szarek, Jill Brown, Erik Vaan Straaten, Emma Proudley & Glen Mcgoldrick. (Not pictured but also taking part were Martin Douglas OBE, Cargill Managing Director, and Adam Blackburn who assisted in the project management
Volunteers from Cargill help to shape edible sensory garden at Henshaws Specialist College. Team from left to right: Norman Downey, Ben Rogers, Dionne Torkington-Craven, Anita Szarek, Jill Brown, Erik Vaan Straaten, Emma Proudley & Glen Mcgoldrick. (Not pictured but also taking part were Martin Douglas OBE, Cargill Managing Director, and Adam Blackburn who assisted in the project management


Lisa Sherratt, Corporate & Events Manager for Henshaws said:

Cargill have been great supporters of Henshaws for a long time now.

We are very grateful for their continued support and man power to help us create our new sensory garden.

We would also like to thank Johnsons of Whixley nurseries who are donating an apple tree and a range of edible plants for the garden and Yorwaste for their generous donation of 10 tonnes of compost.

 

Steven Midgley, Manager of Yorwaste’s Tancred Depot, near Richmond, said:

We are delighted to have been able to support Henshaws. Our compost is produced to a nationally accredited standard, which means it will help the plants to grow quickly so the students can enjoy them.

Henshaws hope the garden will be ready for students at the specialist college to access by the summer term.


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