Seaside trip brings our vision into focus

In her latest blog, Thrive Homes Chief Executive Elspeth Mackenzie considers how a modest community event serves as a reminder of housing associations’ social role. Discussion rumbles on about the need for housing associations to build more homes whilst rising … Continue reading

In her latest blog, Thrive Homes Chief Executive Elspeth Mackenzie considers how a modest community event serves as a reminder of housing associations’ social role.

Discussion rumbles on about the need for housing associations to build more homes whilst rising to the challenges of rent cuts and welfare reforms. It is clear that the commercial imperative has never been greater for social housing providers if we want to continue to deliver our vision and mission.

For all associations, Thrive included, our most fundamental role is to provide homes that give people the opportunity to have a decent life. However, as the ‘Brexit’ vote indicated, people’s engagement with society requires something more than just a roof over their head.

If the government wants people to feel they have a stake in society and have the capacity to really do something with their lives, our wider society needs agencies to help achieve that. This is something housing associations are very good at and have understood since the birth of social housing. Octavia Hill’s ethos was about much more than bricks and mortar – it was about encouraging people to live a good life and play their part in society, a vision which people bought into.

This role of enabling people to aspire was powerfully brought home to me recently when we at Thrive were all touched by the reaction of a young child to the prospect of a family day trip to the seaside, funded by one of our community grants.

The little girl told organisers she couldn’t sleep the night before because she was so excited about going on this seaside ‘holiday’. Many of the families in this deprived area don’t have holidays and some of the children had never seen the sea before. Hearing this moving story made me feel we were living in 1816, not 2016.

Our funding was modest – just £1,000 – to pay for this trip and yet what a difference it made to this little girl and her friends. Aside from having a nice day out with her family, it means that when her schoolmates talk about the holidays they took over the summer she will have something to talk about and be able to join in – something she may well not have been able to do before.

Such an outing also builds children’s interest in seeing different places and the confidence to do new things, as well as encouraging them to aspire to providing similar opportunities for their own children when they have a family.

This story is a simple example of the impactful work a housing association can do, at a relatively low cost. If we operate more commercially, maximising our efficiency, we have the financial capacity to put something back in this way – providing opportunities that enable people to make the most of their lives, aspire and reach their potential.

South Oxhey families thrive by the seaside

Fun in the sun with Thrive Homes Families from South Oxhey enjoyed a rare trip to enjoy some sun, sea and sand thanks to a community project supported by local housing association Thrive Homes. South Oxhey Children’s Centre organised the … Continue reading

Fun in the sun with Thrive Homes

Fun in the sun with Thrive Homes

Families from South Oxhey enjoyed a rare trip to enjoy some sun, sea and sand thanks to a community project supported by local housing association Thrive Homes.

South Oxhey Children’s Centre organised the day trip to West Wittering Beach, in Chichester, for local children and their families.

For some of the youngsters, Friday’s (12th August) visit – for a 50-strong group of children and parents – was the first time they had seen the sea.

Watford-based Thrive Homes awarded a £1,000 community grant to fund the trip, as well as providing ‘goody bags’ containing sun hats and activity booklets. The children’s centre supplied water, sun cream and buckets and spades for the day-trippers.
Helen Walsh, Oxhey Group Manager for the Pre-School Learning Alliance which runs the children’s centre, said: “Many of the families who live in South Oxhey don’t have ‘holidays’.

“One child told our support worker that she couldn’t sleep because she was so excited about going on holiday. It transpired that her ‘holiday’ was in fact the trip to the beach – this really reiterates why funding like this is so important and really does make a difference.

“Getting this grant from Thrive has allowed us to take these families outside South Oxhey for a day, so the children can have a nice time and a new experience. Many of the children had never been to the seaside before.

“We unfortunately don’t have the funding to do things like this for our families, so the grant has been amazing and really enabled us to help the local community.”

South Oxhey Children’s Centre provides a ‘one stop shop’, offering information and access to services for local families with children under five.
Daryl Pereira, Customer Engagement Officer at Thrive, said: “
The children’s centre aims to give youngsters the best possible start in life – and we are delighted to support them in achieving that.

“All the families had a great time enjoying the sun, sea and sand. The trip offered them a wonderful opportunity to relax, spend time together and have some fun, while building the children’s experience and confidence.”

Thrive’s Community Grants Scheme supports initiatives which aim to enhance the lives of individuals and their communities. To apply for funding or find out more, call Thrive Homes on 0800 917 6077 or visit www.thrivehomes.org.uk

Charities reap rewards from trailblazing scheme to deliver social value to communities

Charities are reaping the rewards after Hertfordshire-based housing association Thrive Homes launched a trailblazing initiative to help contractors deliver social value to communities. The social landlord recently ran its first GIVE (Generating Income for Voluntary Enterprises) events under a unique … Continue reading

Charities are reaping the rewards after Hertfordshire-based housing association Thrive Homes launched a trailblazing initiative to help contractors deliver social value to communities.
The social landlord recently ran its first GIVE (Generating Income for Voluntary Enterprises) events under a unique scheme bringing together Thrive’s contractors with local charities.
At the first event, representatives from the different organisations talked about their work before discussing how contractors could provide the charities with long-term practical support.
Held at Thrive’s Watford office, the day began with formal presentations followed by group sessions to brainstorm ideas on how the private companies could best help the charities meet the challenges they are currently facing.
This was followed by a second event, held last month, where the businesses explained the resulting action plans to deliver support to the voluntary organisations.
So far, the scheme has recruited Pinnacle PSG, which recently signed a new contract with Thrive to provide cleaning services, Thrive’s new grounds maintenance contractor Lotus Landscapes Limited, and its IT services provider Sovereign Business Integration Group plc.
Under the new Lotus contract, some gardening work is sub-contracted to Let’s Talk Grounds Maintenance – a social enterprise, run by the Hertfordshire Mind Network charity, which provides work, training and volunteering opportunities for people who have experienced mental health issues.
The GIVE initiative aims to build on this kind of community partnership working, which won Thrive first place in the national Social Value Awards, run by Procurement for Housing to recognise projects which demonstrate the importance of social value within communities.
Local charities represented at Thrive’s GIVE events were Watford-based homeless charity New Hope, Watford Women’s Centre, Rickmansworth-based 9 Lives Furniture and Mill End Job Club.
They have flagged up various areas where they need help, including IT support, HR advice and health and safety training, as well as hands-on projects such as window cleaning and gardening.
They are now taking advantage of a range of support, including hedge trimming by Lotus, rubbish removal by Pinnacle and IT training workshops being planned by Sovereign.
Contractors will offer work experience placements to users of Mill End Job Club and notify them of job vacancies. They are also providing training on subjects such as health and safety and customer care to the charities’ volunteers.
Thrive Chief Executive Elspeth Mackenzie said: “Thrive is committed to generating social value, as demonstrated by initiatives such as our community grants scheme, staff volunteering programme and our partnership work.
“But we want to take this work a step further, encouraging our contractors from the private sector to invest in local charitable and voluntary organisations, with the resulting benefits for our residents and communities.
“Our GIVE initiative is unique in bringing these organisations together, focusing on the particular challenges the charities are facing and how best our contractors can help them overcome those challenges.”
Daryl Pereira, Customer Engagement Officer at Thrive, said: “The events have gone really well, with everyone coming up with lots of ideas. GIVE offers a fantastic deal, with contractors giving their time and expertise to develop the charities’ skills and capabilities.”
Rob Edmonds, Head of Services at New Hope, said maintenance and gardening work would be ‘invaluable’ in helping the homeless charity launch a new accommodation service later this year.
He said: “GIVE shows how active Thrive is in the community. It is fantastic that they are leading this initiative, linking local charities with private companies, and we are grateful to be part of it.
“It is only when organisations come together to work in partnership like this that we can really make a lasting, positive impact on our communities.”
Ali Dunstone, Manager of Watford Women’s Centre, said: “We are quite a small charity so we were delighted to be asked along – it was nice to meet the other charities and share our experiences. The project is brilliant and it is great to see how passionate Thrive is about it.”
Marie Frost, Manager of 9 Lives Furniture – which restores furniture and provides work experience and training for people with learning disabilities and mental ill health – said: “GIVE is a really forward-thinking idea which I would like to see being taken up by other organisations.
“Rather than companies providing a charity with a day of support or a one-off grant, the GIVE scheme offers help over a year, so it is about building a longer term relationship which will have more far-reaching benefits.”
Claire Davis, of Mill End Job Club, said: “This is such an exciting project for small charities like ourselves. Funding streams are increasingly limited, so we are always looking at alternative ways to get the support we need to continue our work.
“We are hoping the contractors will give us help with things like IT advice but also by providing work experience placements for our young jobseekers. It was good to meet the other charities, too – we can form positive relationships, encouraging and helping each other along the way. It really is a ‘win, win’ situation.”
Louise Richards, Business Development Manager at Lotus Landscapes, said: “GIVE is a completely new way of delivering social value and we are delighted to be involved.
“Hearing about the work these charities do was inspiring and the events generated lots of ideas of things we can do to help them that we’ve never thought about before.”
Seundouss Laroussi, Business Manager at Pinnacle PSG, said: “Thrive’s approach – inviting us all to meet up in this way – is truly innovative. It has been really interesting and we are very privileged and happy to be part of it.
“To have the opportunity to meet some of the charities Thrive works with and understand their needs gives us a platform to work from, helping us to focus our efforts on initiatives which will be of most use to them and make much more impact.”
Thrive’s next GIVE event will take place in September, bringing on board building materials contractor Jewson Ltd.

Thrive Homes launches trailblazing scheme to deliver social value to communities

Hertfordshire-based housing association Thrive Homes has launched a trailblazing initiative to help contractors deliver social value to communities. The social landlord recently ran its first GIVE (Generating Income for Voluntary Enterprises) event, bringing together four local charities and two businesses … Continue reading

Hertfordshire-based housing association Thrive Homes has launched a trailblazing initiative to help contractors deliver social value to communities.

The social landlord recently ran its first GIVE (Generating Income for Voluntary Enterprises) event, bringing together four local charities and two businesses which have recently signed new contracts with Thrive.

In what is believed to be a unique scheme, representatives from the different organisations talked about their work before discussing how the contractors could provide the charities with long-term practical support.

The event, held at Thrive’s Watford office, began with formal presentations followed by group sessions to brainstorm ideas on how the private companies could best help the charities meet the challenges they are currently facing.

It involved Pinnacle PSG, which recently signed a new contract with Thrive to provide cleaning services, and Thrive’s new grounds maintenance contractor Lotus Landscapes Limited.

Under the new Lotus contract, some gardening work is sub-contracted to Let’s Talk Grounds Maintenance – a social enterprise, run by the Hertfordshire Mind Network charity, which provides work, training and volunteering opportunities for people who have experienced mental health issues.

The GIVE initiative aims to build on this kind of community partnership working, which recently won Thrive first place in the national Social Value Awards, launched by Procurement for Housing to recognise projects which demonstrate the importance of social value within communities.

Local charities represented at the GIVE event were Watford-based homeless charity New Hope, Watford Women’s Centre, Rickmansworth-based 9 Lives Furniture and Mill End Job Club.

Thrive Chief Executive Elspeth Mackenzie said: “Thrive is committed to generating social value, as demonstrated by initiatives such as our community grants scheme, staff volunteering programme and our partnership work.

“But we want to take this work a step further, encouraging our contractors from the private sector to invest in local charitable and voluntary organisations, with the resulting benefits for our residents and communities.

“Our first GIVE event is unique in bringing these organisations together, focusing on the particular challenges the charities are facing and how best our contractors can help them overcome those challenges.”

She added: “The event went really well, with everyone coming up with lots of ideas. Now the contractors are going to look more closely at how and when they can provide support, then meet again with the charities to finalise their plans.”

The charities flagged up various areas where they needed help, including IT support, HR advice and health and safety training, as well as hands-on projects such as window cleaning and gardening.

Rob Edmonds, Head of Services at New Hope, said maintenance and gardening work would be ‘invaluable’ in helping the homeless charity launch a new accommodation service later this year.

He said: “GIVE shows how active Thrive is in the community. It is fantastic that they are leading this initiative, linking local charities with private companies, and we are grateful to be part of it.

“It is only when organisations come together to work in partnership like this that we can really make a lasting, positive impact on our communities.”

Ali Dunstone, Manager of Watford Women’s Centre, said: “We are quite a small charity so we were delighted to be asked along – it was nice to meet the other charities and share our experiences. The project is brilliant and it is great to see how passionate Thrive is about it.”

Marie Frost, Manager of 9 Lives Furniture – which restores furniture and provides work experience and training for people with learning disabilities and mental ill health – said: “GIVE is a really forward-thinking idea which I would like to see being taken up by other organisations.

“Rather than companies providing a charity with a day of support or a one-off grant, the GIVE scheme offers help over a year, so it is about building a longer term relationship which will have more far-reaching benefits.”

Claire Davis, of Mill End Job Club, said: “This is such an exciting project for small charities like ourselves. Funding streams are increasingly limited, so we are always looking at alternative ways to get the support we need to continue our work.

“We are hoping the contractors will give us help with things like IT advice but also by providing work experience placements for our young jobseekers. It was good to meet the other charities, too – we can form positive relationships, encouraging and helping each other along the way. It really is a ‘win, win’ situation.”

Louise Richards, Business Development Manager at Lotus Landscapes, said: “GIVE is a completely new way of delivering social value and we are delighted to be involved.

“Hearing about the work these charities do was inspiring and the event generated lots of ideas of things we can do to help them that we’ve never thought about before.”

Seundouss Laroussi, Business Manager at Pinnacle PSG, said: “Thrive’s approach – inviting us all to meet up in this way – is truly innovative. It was a really interesting day and we are very privileged and happy to be part of it.

“To have the opportunity to meet some of the charities Thrive works with and understand their needs gives us a platform to work from, helping us to focus our efforts on initiatives which will be of most use to them and make much more impact.”

Following the success of this first event, Thrive’s next GIVE event will take place at the end of June with contractors Jewson Ltd and Sovereign Business Integration Group plc.

Helping young people thrive

Approach Thrive Homes’ vision is to create thriving communities where there are life choices and opportunities. As part of this commitment, Thrive works closely with local schools and youth organisations on a variety of projects aimed at helping young people … Continue reading

Helping young people thrive

Approach

Thrive Homes’ vision is to create thriving communities where there are life choices and opportunities.

As part of this commitment, Thrive works closely with local schools
and youth organisations on a variety of projects aimed at helping young people to achieve their potential and enjoy fulfilling lives.

By teaming up with our community partners, we help enhance the opportunities available to young people and prepare them for the challenges they may face in the future.

Our work ranges from running
life skills and healthy lifestyle workshops in schools to offering staff volunteering days and community grants to create a more stimulating environment for students.

Achievements

We organised an ‘Enterprise Week’ of life skills workshops at Francis Combe Academy, which were so successful we have been asked to run similar events at another Watford secondary school, Westfield Academy, for the past three years.

The fun, interactive sessions cover subjects such as managing a home, budgeting, apprenticeships and personal safety, culminating in the opportunity for students to take part in work experience placements at Thrive and other local organisations.

We also supported and mentored the winning team, from Parmiter’s School in Garston, in the Dragon’s Apprentice Challenge aimed at developing young people’s entrepreneurial talents while raising funds for charity.

Through our Community Grants scheme, we have funded workshops promoting healthy lifestyles to hundreds of pupils
at local primary schools and paid for an adventure playground at Yorke Mead Primary School, in Rickmansworth.

Another £12,000 grant created a ‘sensory gym’ and garden area at Colnbrook School, in South Oxhey. Thrive staff
also spent three days volunteering at
the special school, building planters for children to grow their own fruit, vegetables and flowers.

Helping young people thrive

Results

Michael Wilce, Director of Learning Year 10 at 
Westfield Academy

Students and teachers alike have praised Thrive’s work in local schools, with youngsters describing our life skills workshops as “interesting and motivational”, “very informative and engaging” and “got me thinking about life”.

“Thrive Homes has once again delivered a fantastic range of workshops. The information within each section, coupled with excellent delivery by driven and inspirational staff, motivated pupils to engage in issues outside their school lives.”

Michael Wilce, Director of Learning Year 10 at
Westfield Academy

Jobseekers in Rickmansworth get support towards a thriving career

More jobseekers in Rickmansworth will get support from a local help and advice service, thanks to a cash injection from local housing association Thrive Homes. Thrive has awarded £4,000 from its Community Grants Scheme to Mill End Job Club, based … Continue reading

More jobseekers in Rickmansworth will get support from a local help and advice service, thanks to a cash injection from local housing association Thrive Homes.

Thrive has awarded £4,000 from its Community Grants Scheme to Mill End Job Club, based at Mill End Community Centre.

The funding will help the club to continue its work supporting and advising people who are looking for employment, including vulnerable people struggling to find a job.

Zulf Awan, Community Partnerships Manager at Thrive, said: “The Job Club provides a valuable service to the local community, supporting people to find work so they can lead more independent lifestyles.

“It has a successful track record of finding work and training opportunities for residents, as well as engaging with people who have extra support needs and helping them to get that support.”

Mill End Job Club offers information, advice and guidance for local people – including Thrive residents – looking for employment opportunities. It also works in partnership with local Children’s Centres to help parents finding it difficult to get back into work.

Advisors help clients look for work, write CVs, complete application forms and prepare for interviews.

Mill End Job Club Administrator Sue Gambula said: “We work with all sorts of people – some may just need a bit of guidance or help developing their self-confidence.

“Others may be dealing with a number of issues that create barriers to finding work. We will talk to them and signpost them to other agencies who can give them the extra support they may need to overcome those barriers.”

She added: “We are incredibly happy to receive this grant from Thrive, which will allow us to continue working alongside local people who need our help.”

The Job Club has supported many people to gain employment, including Thrive resident Gillian Buckoke, from Mill End.

Advisors helped her draw up a CV and make job applications using the club’s computers, organised a relevant work experience placement and then gave Gillian a lift to the interview which resulted in her landing a job as a sales assistant at a newly-opened Watford store.

Gillian said: “Everyone at Job Club was friendly, helpful and welcoming – they always made me feel at ease. At local Job Clubs like this I feel we get proper help that actually makes a difference.”

Mill End Job Club is running its first course, in partnership with Hertfordshire Adult and Family Learning Service, from 21st April. ‘Boost Your Employability’ sessions – aimed at building confidence and developing interview skills – will be held on Thursday afternoons for six weeks. To register or find out more, drop in at Mill End Community Centre or call 01923 493344.

Dance sessions poised to give Watford residents a new lease of life

Older residents can enjoy fun dance workshops to boost their health and wellbeing in Watford, following a cash boost from local housing association Thrive Homes. Thrive has awarded £3,000 from its Community Grants Scheme to Watford Palace Theatre to fund … Continue reading

Older residents can enjoy fun dance workshops to boost their health and wellbeing in Watford, following a cash boost from local housing association Thrive Homes.

Thrive has awarded £3,000 from its Community Grants Scheme to Watford Palace Theatre to fund Active Routes Project sessions.

With the funding, the theatre is running free creative dance workshops and introductory taster sessions for older people in the community.

The events, open to anyone aged over 50, aim to bring people together while improving their health, fitness and sense of wellbeing.

Zulf Awan, Community Partnerships Manager at Thrive, said: “The dance workshops aim to reach potentially isolated older people, particularly those who may have limited income or mobility issues.

“They offer a vital opportunity to participants to socialise and stay active and healthy by taking part in enriching workshops led by specialists.”

Professional dancer Laura Horn is leading the dance and movement sessions which are tailored to cater for all abilities, so participants need no previous dance experience.

Carrie Washington, Active Routes Project Manager, said: “The workshops are based on the strong belief that creative dance provides positive benefits for older people.

“They are a really fun way for people to get out and make new friends while having a beneficial impact on their health and wellbeing.

“Holding these drop-in sessions out in the community encourages people to take part, reducing barriers, as they take place in familiar surroundings where people feel comfortable.”

“We are very grateful for Thrive’s support – without their funding, we wouldn’t be able to run these workshops,” she added.

The project follows a successful pilot scheme run by Watford Palace Theatre last year, with one participant commenting on the sessions: “There is a real ‘feel good’ factor as the body and brain gets a work-out within an environment of trust and mutual support.”

Active Routes workshops – open to anyone aged over 50 – started last week (22nd February) at Thrive’s sheltered housing scheme Harrogate Court, running from 1.30pm to 2.30pm every Monday for 13 weeks. Tea and coffee is provided.

Anyone interested can just drop in or call 01923 810307 for more information.

Thrive offers helping hand to Three Rivers debt support service

People struggling with debt in the Three Rivers district will get a helping hand thanks to support from local housing association Thrive Homes. The Watford-based landlord has awarded £12,000 to Three Rivers Citizens Advice Bureaux from its Community Grants Scheme. … Continue reading

People struggling with debt in the Three Rivers district will get a helping hand thanks to support from local housing association Thrive Homes.

The Watford-based landlord has awarded £12,000 to Three Rivers Citizens Advice Bureaux from its Community Grants Scheme.

The sum will pay for two days’ debt, money management and budgeting advice per week for Thrive residents over the coming year at the bureaux, which are based in Rickmansworth, South Oxhey and Abbots Langley.

Zulf Awan, Community Partnerships Manager at Thrive, said: “We have supported the Citizens Advice Bureaux with our community grants for the last five years, and are pleased to be able to continue this support.

“We are keen to help tenants who are struggling to juggle their finances, particularly at a time when welfare reform changes, such as under-occupancy rules and the benefits cap, are having a significant impact.”

As well as free, confidential one-to-one help and support for individuals at the three CAB offices, the money will also pay for group budgeting courses for Thrive tenants.

Marion Seneschall, Chief Executive of Three Rivers Citizens Advice Bureaux, said: “We very much appreciate this grant from Thrive Homes, which means we can help people get out of debt and stay out of debt.

“We work with people to resolve their immediate difficulties by prioritising their debts, organising a re-payment plan and possibly getting some debts written off. We then give advice on money management and budgeting to help them avoid such difficulties in the future.

“With the introduction of Universal Credit happening soon, social housing tenants will have to learn to budget for themselves as they will be paid their housing benefit payment direct and be responsible for paying their own rent.”

She added: “We take a holistic approach, helping people to resolve the other issues around debt, such as health problems caused by stress and the risk of homelessness. We look at the whole picture, enabling clients to feel more confident about how to manage their financial affairs so they can have a bright outlook for the future.”

Thrive’s Community Grants Scheme supports initiatives which aim to enhance the lives of individuals and their communities. To apply for funding or find out more, call Thrive Homes on 0800 917 6077 or visit www.thrivehomes.org.uk

Children enjoy adventurous play-times thanks to Thrive boost

  Schoolchildren in Rickmansworth are enjoying adventurous play-times with the help of a cash boost from local housing association Thrive Homes. Yorke Mead Primary School, in Croxley Green, was awarded £8,000 from Thrive’s Community Grants Scheme to help pay for … Continue reading

 

Schoolchildren in Rickmansworth are enjoying adventurous play-times with the help of a cash boost from local housing association Thrive Homes.

Yorke Mead Primary School, in Croxley Green, was awarded £8,000 from Thrive’s Community Grants Scheme to help pay for a new outdoor play area.

The school has installed a variety of adventurous play equipment including a climbing wall, plus educational play panels such as a weather station, a solar-powered stop clock and a noughts and crosses game.

There are also facilities for ball games including table tennis tables, as well as a relaxing quiet area. This month, they are completing the play area by creating a musical trail, a story telling area and an allotment.
Pupils, aged from five to 11, and other users of the school’s community facilities will benefit from the newly created play areas.

Zulf Awan, Community Partnerships Manager at Thrive Homes, said: “We are pleased to be supporting such a valuable project, which aims to enhance local children’s learning and wellbeing while encouraging an active and healthy lifestyle.

“A varied and adventurous play area provides exciting play and educational opportunities for all children, as well as encouraging youngsters to mix, build relationships through teamwork and sharing with each other.

“Outdoor play is important in developing life skills such as problem solving and learning to manage risk, but it also improves concentration which helps children to focus when they return to the classroom.”

The school has consulted with pupils, staff and parents on the design, and will be recruiting local volunteers to develop the allotment.

Headteacher Lucille Pollard said: “We are very grateful to Thrive Homes for their generous donation.

“It is fabulous to see the children exploring together and developing their physical, social and problem solving skills whilst having such fun in outdoor activity. These are essential skills for children to develop for life.”

Thrive Homes’ Community Grants Scheme supports initiatives which aim to enhance the lives of individuals and their communities. The scheme has awarded a total of almost £300,000 of grants to a range of projects over the last five years.

To apply for funding or find out more, call the Policy and Communications team on 0800 917 6077 or visit www.thrivehomes.org.uk

 

Children thrive thanks to sensory gym at Watford school

  Children are delighted with a new ‘sensory gym’ and garden area at their special school in Watford, thanks to the support of Thrive Homes. We awarded £12,000 from our Community Grants fund to help pay for the outdoor gym equipment at … Continue reading

 

Colnbrook kids and play equipment (1280x853)

Children are delighted with a new ‘sensory gym’ and garden area at their special school in Watford, thanks to the support of Thrive Homes.

We awarded £12,000 from our Community Grants fund to help pay for the outdoor gym equipment at Colnbrook School, in South Oxhey.

Our staff also spent three days volunteering at the school, building wooden planters so children can now grow their own fruit, vegetables and flowers.

The work was part of our ongoing volunteering programme, where colleagues volunteer to do hands-on work with various organisations and charities for the benefit of local people and communities.

Colnbrook School is a special school for primary aged children, catering for pupils with learning difficulties, autism and speech, language and communication needs.

Headteacher Richard Hill said the gym featured a safety surface and was covered with a canopy, so could be used in all weathers.

He said: “The gym is extremely popular – the pupils love it. They queue up to go on it, so we’ve had to set up a rota system at play-time to make sure everyone gets a go.

“The different kinds of equipment are great for their physical fitness as well as stimulating different senses.

“We are also grateful to Thrive for the planters, which are encouraging the children to try some gardening. They planted pansies at first but will also be growing their own vegetables and fruit.

“Both the new gym and the planters promote the outside environment as a learning resource, which is a key part of the curriculum. They are also helping to develop pupils’ social skills and ability to transfer their learning so they can access similar facilities in the community.”

Zulf Awan, Community Partnerships Manager at Thrive Homes, said: “It’s been a pleasure working at the school and supporting them to buy the gym equipment – we are glad to help and it’s been rewarding to see how much the children are enjoying the new facilities.”

The Community Grants Scheme supports projects that make a real difference to individuals and their communities. The scheme has awarded grants to a variety of initiatives over the last five years, totalling over £200,000.

To apply for funding or find out more, call the Policy and Communications team on 0800 917 6077 or 020 8428 4428, or visit www.thrivehomes.org.uk