Rotarian Roger sorting out the panels ready for assembly

The Club has had a long standing association with the East Specialist Inclusive Learning Centre – John Jamieson School. The school caters for children and young people between the ages of 2 and 19. The opportunity for them to experience colours, textures, smells and sounds in a calming and safe environment is important as it provides a varied and beneficial experience for the children.

In 2016 several members of the club, led by Rotarian Roger, built a sensory garden which included several raised planters where young people with mobility issues could get their fingers green by helping with growing and nurturing plants, herbs and vegetables. The garden had mirrors, chimes and whirligigs to add to the sensory experience.

Over the years the area had become relatively unused after the removal of the raised bed planters which had started to rot. A few months ago, the raised bed planters and other items which had started to rot were removed by Rotarian volunteers.

A discussion between Roger and Diane, Head of John Jamieson School, culminated in an outline plan to have outdoor weather resistant seating so as to best utilise the area. Some element of floral planting was thought to be important but that (unlike the raised beds) should not be labour intensive or high maintenance. After researching suppliers and products in line with a Roundhay Rotary  Club budget of £1800, some draft ideas and photos were submitted to Diane for her to discuss with staff at the school.

The Forest Group, a British company based in Worcestershire which uses only sustainable Scottish timber, offered what was required at good prices. 2 modular seating units with integral planters & decorative trellis and 3 standalone benches were ordered at a cost of £1500.

The cost to have the furniture assembled on site by The Forest Group employees was high and so Roger and Rotarian Tony decided they could do the assembly themselves. The flat pack materials were delivered at 10.30am on Wednesday 29 November. Roger and Tony got to work and assembled all 11 separate items by 5:30 PM. A follow up visit was carried out on 15 December to attach the trellis.

The remaining budget (£300) was used to purchase and install durable liners to go inside the wooden planters that are filled with sensory  aromatic herbs, etc. Additional liners will enable pre-planted items to be exchanged to refill the planters across the seasons. Rotarian Tony made two subsequent visits to complete the assembly of trellis and to install the fully planted liners into the planters. It is also planned to revamp the base structure wood frame of the stainless steel water feature using tanalised wood to match the new seating.

Fully assembled seating complete with trellis and planters

Below is the message from the school thanking the Club for the work that was completed.

Dear Rotary Club Members,

This is a quick note to say a huge thank you for the regeneration of our school quad. The transformation will be of huge benefit to our learners by giving them a calm space when calm and quiet is needed, but also a space which can be used as an outdoor learning area- through the horticultural aspect of it’s maintenance, but also through it’s design. It’s seating plan lends itself to an auditorium type space and there have been several teachers say that they plan to use the space to read stories to their classes in the Summer.

Your support for us here at the East SILC is always appreciated, and we are so glad you are part of our wider community. I hope you will be able to see the quad in use as the weather improves,

Jamie Darby

Interim Head of School at John Jamieson

East SILC John Jamieson School & Technology College

Hollin Hill Drive| Leeds | LS8 2PW

Get in touch with Roundhay Rotary Club:

0113 266 6203