AYRSHIRE YOUNG PEOPLE SCOOP PRESTIGIOUS NATIONAL AWARD FROM HRH THE PRINCE OF WALES
More than 30 young people from Ayr, Kilwinning and Kilmarnock, all lacking in self-belief and direction, have received a top award from HRH The Prince of Wales after creating a sensory garden for young children on the autistic spectrum.
They scooped the prestigious Dell EMC Community Impact Award at the glittering ceremony held at The Palladium in London on 6 March 2018. The event was hosted by Ant & Dec and attended by celebrities including Cheryl Tweedy, Olivia Colman, Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston, Tom Hardy, Thierry Henry and Spice Girl Melanie Chisholm.
The Prince’s Trust and TK Maxx & Homesense Awards recognise disadvantaged young people who have succeeded against the odds, improved their chances in life and had a positive impact on their local community, as well as those who have played a part in supporting the work of The Trust.
The Ayrshire youngsters had come together on Team, a programme run by The Prince's Trust that builds the skills and confidence of unemployed young people so they are better equipped to find work. They joined forces as part of the 150th Team programme in the region, and were approached by the staff of Ayr’s Doonfoot Primary School to see if they could help with their garden.
One of the young people, Kris Moyles, said: "There’s a place called the Base at the school which looks after children on the autistic spectrum. They told us that they’d wanted to build a sensory garden for ages, but didn't have the money. So they gave us their wish list and we started calling up local companies asking them to donate materials for it.”
Imrie Tree Care supplied wood and wood chips, Jewson supplied fencing wood, Hillhouse Quarry donated cement mix, stone chips and cash, and apprentices from Ashleigh (Scotland) Limited helped the Team build a large wooden teepee. Asda and Alexander Saw Mills also provided materials.
Kris added: "We installed sensory flower beds, made a willow tunnel, interactive textured structures and a quiet area with swings and a sand pit; and we linked everything up by laying a sensory path. It looked really cool.”
Learning communication, budgeting and practical skills on the go, each young person on Team 150 pulled together, showing incredible dedication to the cause and empathy for other people's needs.
The garden has proved so popular with the whole school that it is now a timetabled activity as part of the schools learning offer, helping to boost the emotional, social and educational development of the children that use it.
Another member of the group, Jack Haxton, said: “Building a sensory garden for the autistic base at Doonfoot Primary was pretty big for me personally because I’m autistic, so it was something quite close to my heart.”
Team 150 went back to visit recently and were overjoyed at seeing the garden so well used by the children.
Jack said: “Seeing the kids out playing in the garden and being so excited to play in it felt really good.”
On winning the Dell EMC Community Impact Award, Jack added: “It’s amazing to be an award winner. Getting to come to London and be part of it is so fantastic. What I’ve got planned now, I would never ever have had the confidence, ability or willpower to do it if I hadn’t joined the Prince’s Trust programme.”
A member of staff from Doonfoot Primary School, added:
“The whole team were so enthusiastic about the project and committed 100%. We are so grateful for this at Doonfoot Primary as we would never have been able to create such an amazing outdoor space our children can thrive within."
All Team 150 members have gone on to progress into education, employment, training or volunteering.
Tony Kane, Team Leader, Ayrshire College, said: “This group of young people were thoughtful, professional and incredibly diligent throughout this community project. They far exceeded all expectations and truly knocked it out the park.”
Spice Girl Mel C, who presented the young people with their award, said: “Having been involved with The Prince’s Trust since The Spice Girls days, I continue to be bowled over by the accomplishments of all the young people that The Trust works with. The awards are a great showcase of what can be achieved with the right support, a big dose of optimism and determination for a bright future.”
Dayne Turbitt, SVP, UK and Ireland – Dell EMC Enterprise Business, said: “This award recognises the difference the team made to their community – they should be very proud of their achievement. On behalf of Dell EMC, congratulations Ayrshire Team 150!”
Youth charity The Prince's Trust gives disadvantaged young people the skills and confidence to find a job. Three in four young people helped by The Prince’s Trust move into work, training or education.