Just two-and-a-half years ago, Springwater Special Educational Needs School in Harrogate was in a bad state of repair with limited equipment available to aid its pupils.
Its playground lacked even basic shelter to protect children from the elements and it did not have a sensory room for its pupils.
However today, Springwater will enjoy a dramatic relaunch with state-of-the-art facilities and equipment, all thanks to the herculean efforts of the best of Yorkshire’s commercial property community.
The firms came together to support and facilitate the Big Build project from Variety Yorkshire.
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The resulting efforts have succeeded in transforming the school into one of the best in the country, able to cater for the needs of many profoundly disabled children between the ages of two to 19-years-old, all of whom have a wide range of complex, life limiting and life-threatening conditions.
The change came about after Charlotte Farrington, Yorkshire regional development director for Variety, visited the school in January 2017 to learn of its restrictive site.
She was blown away by the dedication and expertise of the headteacher and staff at the school but aware it needed improved resources to deliver the best care for its pupils.
Determined to turn the school around, Ms Farrington launched The Variety Big Build at their annual Yorkshire Property Awards held at Rudding Park Hotel in May.
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Ms Farrington said: “After meeting Springwater Head, Sarah Edwards and her fantastic staff, it was clear how passionate they are about the school, its pupils and the level of care given to each and every child.
“I knew this required something bigger than we have ever done before and I cannot thank the generosity of the Yorkshire property community enough.
“This project will be life changing, not only for the children at Springwater now, but for generations to come. Everyone who has pledged their time and contributed financially should be incredibly proud of what has been achieved and the legacy they have created.”
Variety reached out to the business community to undertake a three-phase project: a state-of-the-art sensory and soft play area, an all-inclusive, accessible playground and a purpose-built rebound therapy centre.
Sarah Edwards, headteacher at Springwater, said: “We look forward to the completion of the playground works as it will allow us to offer the very best provision to all of our children however complex their special needs.
“The work started with our school council who were considerate of what everyone needed outside – they want active areas, accessible areas, chill out areas and sensory areas – and I know that this will be achieved once the work is complete.”
Top bosses at the firms which put their shoulder into the project, providing assistance at every level, all expressed their pride in being part of the rebuild at Spring- water.
Tom Gilman, managing director of Kier Property (North), said that the school now had the resource to “deliver the structures and play equipment and leave a lasting legacy for its pupils to enjoy for years to come”.
Gavin Ritchie, director of Gent Visick, said: “The works are transforming the outside environment into exciting and functional space.”
Garry Wilson, managing partner at Endless LLP, said: “By providing funding for the sensory room and soft play area we have been able to contribute to the long-term wellbeing and development of all the pupils and wish them all the very best.”
A host of the region’s top property companies contributed to The Big Build project to help redevelop Springwater Special Educational Needs School in Harrogate, including:
Sir Robert McAlpine
The HACS Group
Re-form Landscape Architecture
ASK Building Control
Gardiner & Theobald