Children with life-limiting illnesses can now enjoy their very own wildlife garden at a Yorkshire hospice, thanks to a partnership cultivated with staff from a Leeds estate agency.
Linley & Simpson has broken its previous record by raising £26,000 for Martin House Children’s Hospice at Boston Spa, near Wetherby, during another year of support for its chosen charity.
For the first time, this backing included a volunteering programme which saw staff transform spare land in the picturesque grounds into a haven of peace for families.
It also encompasses a thriving habitat for declining species – such as butterflies, bees and hedgehogs.
The independent residential sales and letting agency, which employs 140 people in a network of 11 branches across North and West Yorkshire, completed more than 20 fund-raisers over the year.
It was spearheaded by a challenge which saw staff conquer 20 of the Lake District’s toughest peaks, over 20 miles, in just 13 hours – an ascent the equivalent of two Ben Nevis climbs, or halfway up Mont Blanc, the highest in the Alps.
Other events included the company’s debut in the annual Dragon Boat Races at Roundhay Park, Leeds; and a “Cash for Clutter” campaign, where branches acted as collection points for more than 80 bags of unwanted bric-a-brac to be sold through the hospice’s shops network.
Director Will Linley said: “Everyone in the community knows someone whose lives have been touched by the work of Martin House and this proved the inspiration for us.
“It did not matter if you could paddle, climb, run or cycle – there was an event ‘home grown’ from within our staff talent pool for everyone, whatever their skill or ability.
“If you were a budding Mary Berry, you could bake; if you had green-fingers you could garden; or you could simply wear a Christmas jumper.
“I would like to thank everyone – colleagues, customers and suppliers – who joined us on our journey. This propelled us past our previous fund-raising total for Martin House and we have now raised over £50,000 to support its work.”
He added: “It is a great way to mark the hospice’s 30th anniversary – as well as our own 20th.”
The garden was created with the help of one of Linley & Simpson’s garden service suppliers, Nick Palmer, of Harrogate-based The Garden Keeper, and the hospice’s maintenance manager, Matthew Ward.
With heaps of colour, the garden is perfect for stimulating the children’s senses. It also provides an ideal quiet space away from the daily hustle and bustle of a busy hospice for families to enjoy watching and listening to wildlife together.
All Linley & Simpson staff are awarded one day of paid work time to spend away from the office and instead volunteer at Martin House. Many used the time to turn the spare land into this calming, tranquil corner for reflection and education.
John Haigh, corporate fundraiser at Martin House, said: “It has been an absolute pleasure to work with all the Linley & Simpson team over the past year – every single interaction has been positive and mutually beneficial.
“We would like to bottle all its staff and show them off to the rest of the corporate community as an exemplary case study of how to form a real partnership.”
The year has inspired staff not to put their feet up and rest on their laurels – but to do it all again for Martin House next year, having pledged to build on the partnership in the future.
Since opening its doors in 1997, Linley & Simpson has helped more than 40,000 people move home, growing into one of the biggest independent sales and letting agents in Yorkshire with branches in Leeds city centre, Horsforth, Roundhay, Chapel Allerton, Wetherby, Harrogate, Ripon, York, Saltaire, Ilkley and Wakefield.