Sturton by Stow building firm’s plan for new sensory park

A Sturton by Stow building firm is planning to build a special garden to encourage people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) to have fun preparing for a brighter future.
FixFirm has presented the Gelder Group with tools for its new SEND gardening projectFixFirm has presented the Gelder Group with tools for its new SEND gardening project
FixFirm has presented the Gelder Group with tools for its new SEND gardening project

Designs have been drawn up for a large polytunnel containing three raised beds to be constructed on a green area on Gelder’s extensive site on Till Bridge Lane, Sturton by Stow.

Users will also have access to other inside space and an essential changing places toilet will be installed to cater for pupils’ specific needs.

Steve Gelder, Gelder Group chief executive officer, said: “Our Group vision centres on Our People, Our Planet and Our Performance and I am passionate about creating opportunities for all young people to develop and grow.

“Our latest exciting project has fired the imagination and received the full support of our senior management team.

“We are seriously proud that our head office complex includes a 14-acre environmental park.

“It is already home to 200,000 bees, a fully stocked lake, a nesting tower used by breeding owls and kestrels, a natural pond which has attracted red crested newts, as well as the Wild in The Wood group which delivers outdoors and bushcraft skills for children aged between two and 15.

“We aim to develop the park to offer SEND schools’ pupils the chance to learn gardening skills, boost their self-development and be a pathway to a horticultural career.

“The idea is to turn this initiative into a structured programme which pupils can use as a stepping stone to achieving independence, work placements and getting paid.”

Nick Wray, SEND employment lead, said: “Gelder’s plans are incredibly exciting. They will provide greater opportunities to develop practical horticultural and outdoor learning skills for all, as well as the wider employability skills that are transferrable to many different workplaces.

“The onsite training facility will inspire young people to access the world of work and gain the relevant skills that will prepare them for employability in these sectors.”