Probation staff have helped “make Madisson’s world” by building the eight-year-old a safe garden to play in.
Madisson has a range of conditions including epilepsy, autism and ADHD. She is also non-verbal and self-harms.
Colleagues from Merseyside and Greater Manchester & Cheshire Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs), and the organisation’s Professional Services Centre, took part in a project run by parent company Interserve called Give A Day of Your Time (GADOYT).
The project also received £1,500 from the Interserve Employee Foundation.
Maddison’s mother Terry said: “I am really grateful for what’s been achieved. Madisson’s world is her garden. She loves to play so what’s been created for her will literally mean the world to her and it will be as safe as it can be.”
John Quick, Merseyside CRC’s operations director, said: “I am delighted that we secured a grant to help Madisson and her parents
“It was the first successful grant application for such a project from our organisation, and the GADOYT project was fantastic to be a part of.
“Most importantly, the project will improve Madisson’s quality of life as well as being highly rewarding for staff who volunteered a day of their time.”
Some ten staff, supplemented by three service users doing Community Payback, were supervised by WellChild – a charity for sick children – to build a garden suitable for Maddison’s needs.
Maddison, who also cannot speak and self-harms, and her family recently moved into a property and have been working to create a safer garden for her. But they needed help to carry out the major renovations because the raised patio and hard surfaces were dangerous for Madisson.
The new design made the previously exposed drop safer and created a level, rubber safety matted area at the rear of the garden to provide a safe area for the family to install play equipment.
The project installed balustrades along the patio, making the drop safer and added rubber matting to the swing area. It is hoped to install a Wendy House for imaginary play as Maddison loves to hide in and use play houses. This will make her day to day life more pleasurable, engaging and safe.
Business and Project Manager for Merseyside Rebecca Harris, who volunteered for two days, said:
“Volunteering has been rewarding, inspiring and really uplifting. Helping Madisson and her family to create a safe environment for her has been a fantastic opportunity. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it and I learned several skills too.
“Well Child and Helping Hands are a great charity to work with. Everyone who volunteered should be really proud of themselves. My favourite moments were working with our Community Payback service users, doing something rewarding for a great cause and using their skills, and when Clare Winn sang Wrecking Ball whilst using a sledge hammer was priceless.”
Community Payback manager Kevin Harrison praised the Oldham Unpaid Work team of Chris, Vaughan and Lee: “They each worked extremely hard and moved 10 800kg bags of hardcore and sand. Without their support, we wouldn’t have completed within the two-day timescale.”
In addition to Rebecca and Kevin, the GADOYT volunteers were: Jenny Archer-Power, Hayley McGivern, Chris Oakley, Jen Carnaby, Clare Winn, Sharon Gyles, Megan Snape and John Quick as well as Chris, Vaughan and Lee.
Families caring for a child or young person with complex care needs often find that projects in the home go unfinished as time and finances are so stretched. Many children and young people live in homes which are not suitable for their needs. WellChild’s Helping Hands programme addresses this by using company volunteers to complete garden and bedroom makeovers – making life at home safer.
The GADOYT team from day one are pictured above.