Launchpad’s Hollyacre House in County Durham has benefitted from improved green open space and the creation of a sensory garden for residents to enjoy after receiving funding from Esh Construction.
The funding was awarded via Esh’s Greener Communities programme, a grant-making initiative which was launched by earlier this year in partnership with County Durham Community Foundation.
Launchpad provides vital accommodation and support for up to 100 veterans across three houses in the North of England and helps residents to transition from military to civilian life. Hollyacre House comprises 18 flats and communal facilities such as a lounge, kitchen, IT suite and gym.
When Launchpad took over the management and operation of Hollyacre House in Sacriston in May this year, the grounds around the house were extremely overgrown, paved areas were covered in weeds to the extent the paving was not visible, the grass was dead and the grounds were strewn with overgrown gorse bushes.
Upon being granted the funding from Esh Construction, Launchpad engaged with a local nursery team to carry out the improvements and create the sensory garden. Work included clearing the overgrown bushes and replanting attractive low maintenance plants and shrubs to attract wildlife, along with the creation of a large lawned area with paths and seating for the residents to enjoy. A 40 square metre sensory garden has been developed and features colourful and fragrant plants to stimulate senses and attract birds and nature to provide peaceful, calming sounds.
Kate Marshall, Social Value Manager at Esh Construction, said: “Launchpad’s new sensory garden is the perfect example of why we set up the Greener Communities Fund, with the new space providing environmental improvements as well as mindfulness and mental health benefits for individuals. Giving back to the local community is at the core of Esh’s values, we are delighted with the outcome and hope that it supports veterans for many years to come.”
Phil Thompson, Manager of Hollyacre House, said: “We are very grateful to Esh Construction and County Durham Community Foundation for giving us this donation. From work undertaken in our other two houses, we know access to nature/outdoor spaces, plays an important part in our veterans’ recovery and research by the Mental Health Foundation demonstrated that connectedness with nature improves mental health.
“The transformation of the garden and creation of a sensory garden is amazing. Residents living at the house will help to maintain it, as gardening has proven mental health benefits.”
Esh’s Greener Communities programme will help communities become ‘greener’ through carbon reduction, environmental improvement and education projects. A fund of £50,000 was allocated to support projects which are centred around green skills, climate resilience, improving green spaces and habitats.
Esh Construction is working less than three miles away from Launchpad’s Hollyacre House at New College Durham. The scheme will deliver a brand-new two-storey extension at the college’s Framwellgate Moor Campus, providing a collaborative and integrated learning space for the delivery of higher and technical level skills qualifications.
Launchpad’s new sensory garden is the perfect example of why we set up the Greener Communities Fund, with the new space providing environmental improvements as well as mindfulness and mental health benefits for individuals. Giving back to the local community is at the core of Esh’s values, we are delighted with the outcome and hope that it supports veterans for many years to come.”