Pupils at Percy Hedley School in Newcastle upon Tyne have been surprised with a garden makeover, thanks to the efforts of volunteers from Virgin Media.
The transformation means that, for the first time, pupils in wheelchairs at the school can gain access to the outdoor learning area, giving all students the opportunity to spend more time outdoors and learn about nature.
Virgin Media Compliance Engineers, Geoff Rose and Glenn Hughes, led on the works after discovering that many of the pupils at the school, which supports children with special educational needs, were unable to access the space safely in their wheelchairs. With the garden in desperate need of a revamp, the duo enlisted the help of fellow Virgin Media colleagues and local partners to spruce up the outdoor space.
With all hands-on deck, the team of volunteers from Virgin Media, USS and DTF spent four days transforming the garden, replanting flowers and shrubbery, alongside completing extensive works to level and resurface the paths, making them wheelchair accessible. The group also created a shelter for the children to meet in which teachers will use as an outdoor learning space.
Last week, the team of volunteers were invited back to the school by staff, giving the kind-hearted group the chance to meet some of the children and see the difference they’ve made.
John Steward, Headteacher of the Percy Hedley School, said: “This is such a great resource for our children, who can now use this space all year round. Outdoor Learning is so important for our children for so many reasons: health, confidence, skills, enjoyment, independence, safety and many others. We’re so grateful for this accessible space and excited about using it.”
Virgin Media O2 gives staff paid volunteering days to support community projects – either in-person or digitally – which helps them build connections to their local community. With 18,000 employees working for the business, its staff donate thousands of hours of time each year to help charities, community groups and schools throughout the UK.
Glenn Hughes, Compliance Engineer at Virgin Media, said: “We’re thrilled to have put our volunteering days to good use and made a difference for a truly incredible school in Newcastle.
“This project will help future generations of children going to Percy Hedley and seeing the happiness it brings to the children is amazing.”
Virgin Media is currently rolling out its Gig1 services across its entire network – with Newcastle upon Tyne set to benefit from gigabit speeds 20 times faster than local average before the end of the year.
Alongside this, the company has continued to invest in the area through its Project Lightning network expansion programme, connecting thousands of homes across Newcastle upon Tyne to the UK’s fastest widely available network since 2015.