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Community, Volunteering

Volunteering with McCarthy Stone and Prior’s Court

4 April 2022

It’s hard to believe it has been almost six months since our last volunteering visit to Prior’s Court School in Thatcham, a registered charity that provides support to children and young adults with severe autism. Last time we were on site it was to build a new sensory garden space, and once again a construction project would be the main focus of the day, in the form of a new bike shelter.

We had a full team, bringing together the leadership of the McCarthy stone Sales and Services functions, with only a couple forced to miss the day due to Covid. As usual, the day started with a briefing from Jill, our contact at Prior’s Court, who helps prepare the group for the day and explain a bit more about what the charity does. Although our volunteers don’t work directly with the children, it’s important that all of us involved are aware of the challenges they face and how the brilliant staff help them to deal with them.

Will and Alastair getting the frame built
Sam and Beckie organising a huge number of fixings
Will and Mark putting their height to good use.

Briefing over it was time to get outside and catch up with the Estates Manager Mark, who has the big job of ensuring the upkeep of the grounds and buildings. There was some planting and mowing to get taken care of first, and the two main jobs were to get building the steel framed shelter, and work on widening the path that leads around the field. The bike shelter had been on the Mark’s job list for a few months, as it needed a crew of people to get it built, while widening the path will help ensure that the young people can move around the grounds with their support staff without getting muddy feet!

Zena, Willie, and Paige making headway on the path

Alex and Willie clearing the overgrown path edge

The team worked hard and over the day managed to get a lot done, planting out new ground cover, clearing nettles, widening a long section of path, and (not without a bit of head scratching over the very limited instructions) the bike shelter finished, which was a real accomplishment. Everyone had a great day and we are very grateful to all the team at Prior’s Court for looking after us so well (and a big thanks to Jill for the birthday cake, which was devoured over the lunch break!). A thank you too to the McCarthy Stone team who worked so hard on the day, putting their Employer Supported Volunteering time to great use.

Commercial Director Linda said that  “As well as the good work we did on behalf of the Foundation, as a relatively new joiner to the business (two months in), it was a great opportunity to meet new colleagues in person and get a breath of fresh air at the same time!” and Marketing Director Alastair said what a great way to spend a volunteering day – helping a charity do the things they don’t have the resources to do and getting to know your colleagues in a different environment.  I really enjoyed working with the team to build the bike shelter and to see the fruits of our labour at the end of the day was fantastic.  Hope it stays up!!

Having seen the amount of bolts and screws that went into it, we feel confident that the shelter will be there for quite some time to come!!

New plants
Newly widened path will create more usable space for the students and their support staff.
Screwing in the wall panels was hard work.

A very happy team finish the day in front of the new shelter.