Making a garden with a social conscience
Hemel Hempstead, 10 August 2021 - When June Wilkinson, one of BAM’s Education and Community co-ordinators, was approached about creating an outdoor seating area for the workforce at the Sky Studios, Elstree site, she knew it was the perfect opportunity to partner with some great social enterprises and charities.
‘I really wanted to create a garden that not only met the needs of our workforce but had a social conscience too. Working with RAW workshop, HACRO (Hertfordshire Association for the Care and Rehabilitation of Offenders) and the Shaw Trust, enabled me to do just that. Creating a relaxing space for our staff, while helping others to develop new skills and build their confidence.’
We wanted our outdoor seating area to help with social distancing and provide a relaxed atmosphere for the workforce. Picnic benches were procured from social enterprise RAW Workshop based in Oxford who train and employ individuals recovering from addiction and mental health, as well as those with low esteem. BAM has also worked with them in the past, transferring the wood waste from local projects to them for use in their furniture.
RAW Workshop commented: ‘Our friends at BAM are driving social value and building equality throughout their Supply Chain. By choosing RAW Workshop for the benches for their site crews to rest and meet on means even more added social impact and Sustainability.’
To give the space more of a garden feel and to encourage bees and butterflies to the space we need some planters. We approached Tony Franklin from HACRO (Hertfordshire Association for the Care and Rehabilitation of Offenders). The charity helps people who have been on the wrong side of the law to turn their lives around, through the delivery of ex-offender employment programmes – proven to reduce re-offending. Tony arranged for a group based at Emmaus in St Albans to design and construct twelve outdoor wooden planters to develop their carpentry skills.
The last thing we needed was some plants and we were introduced to Shaw Trust by the local Job Centre. The charity supports disabled and disadvantaged people to make positive changes to their lives through training and employment. They run a garden centre in Canons Park, Stanmore where people can learn horticultural skills.
Sheila Clements, from Shaw Trust said: ‘All the plants were grown by our service users with learning disabilities and are British plants. It means such a lot to them that their skills are recognised and the work they do is appreciated. By choosing us you support people with disabilities and add to our income which sustains our enterprise for more and more people to attend.’
To find out more about the charities and social enterprises above visit: