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What a difference a day makes

Posted 12:00AM on Friday 24 May 2013

An enthusiastic bunch of GRAHAM employees rolled up their sleeves on 17 May 2013 at the home shared by 3 men supported by our Windermere Supported Living Service to help transform an ordinary back garden into a stimulating sensory experience.

The volunteering project was part of Give & Gain Day 2013, a Business in the Community initiative which connects skilled professionals with community organisations, like ourselves. 

Sensory gardens are designed to enrich the lives of people with complex communication difficulties, like the 3 men supported, by bringing sounds, visual effects and textures into their lives. The volunteers, who were assisted by a number of staff from Positive Futures, helped plan and create a garden which now contains brightly coloured flowers, textured plants, a water feature, mirrors and ornaments which produce sounds. They also installed a picnic table, a small area for playing golf, relocated a swing and painted the fence.  Watch the video to see the makeover in action.

Susan McBride, Service Manager, said, “I would like to extend a big thank you on behalf of myself, my team and the men supported by the Service to everyone who volunteered their time. We are all delighted that the garden was completely transformed in just one day.”

Our Managing Director, Paul Roberts, who joined the volunteers to do some planting in the garden, said, “We couldn’t have done this without the generosity of GRAHAM, who provided staff, machinery and materials. Other businesses like Laydex, Scaffold Sales and Services and Boyd Golf Suppliers also chipped in to help and the Big Bite Company provided the sandwiches for a hungry workforce. The project was a fantastic example of businesses giving something back to the community. It was also great that Basil McCrea, local MLA, was able to come along and see the difference we are making in people’s lives.”

The success of this project has inspired staff from other organisations, including the Department of Social Development and the Department of Health to arrange similar volunteering projects with the Service. 

If you know a group of people who are willing to volunteer a few hours of their time to support a similar project, contact Peter Murray, Business Excellence Manager, on

Photo [top]: GRAHAM volunteers and Positive Futures staff celebrate a job well done

Photo [bottom]: A pat on the back to the Department of Social Development volunteers

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