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Complex learning on sound ground

02 August 2012

A selection of EMCOR UK volunteers show some of the staff and students of The Seashell Trust around their new play area.

EMCOR Group (UK) continued its heritage, initiated in 2010, of using its grounds management expertise to help rejuvenate the Seashell Trust in Cheadle Hulme. Formerly known as Manchester Royal School for the Deaf, the charity supports and educates young people with severe learning disabilities combined with complex communication difficulties, including deafness and autism.

With half the students living on-site full time, the landscaped grounds are crucial in providing a pleasant living and learning environment. In preparation for summer, a team of EMCOR volunteers made vital upgrades to one of the Seashell Trust’s most important facilities--the children’s play area. EMCOR UK provides engineering services, facilities management, and sustainable business solutions for a diverse range of private and public sector organisations.

The EMCOR team helped maintain the previously unusable outside leisure area at the Seashell Trust and make it safe for the students to use. The volunteers also undertook a variety of tasks, including levelling the uneven paving slabs, installing an area of wet-pour rubber safety surfacing, flattening an overground mound, removing brick planter areas, laying turf, planting sensory plants, reinforcing the walls and lowering the flowerbeds for wheelchair users. The team additionally installed a child-friendly solar powered water feature. EMCOR’s knowledge of providing facilities and engineering services to buildings across the UK, including academies, schools, universities and further education facilities, ensured the job was performed to the highest standard.

The Seashell Trust provides a school for pupils aged 2-18, a college for students over 19, as well as a residential unit for adults. The Trust is funded to provide education and care, but the extra activities and maintenance of the buildings and grounds are funded by donations.

This project was part of EMCOR’s ongoing support of charities and local community projects that provide help and improve the quality of peoples’ lives. Notably, EMCOR’s corporate-wide ‘Taking KidSafety to the Street’ Ô programme has helped recover over 250 missing children since the Company established it seven years ago; the programme also promotes child safety. Additionally, thousands of EMCOR employees across the UK and U.S. for the past three years have donned EMCOR Pink Hard Hats in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month as part of the Company's 'Protect Yourself. Be Breast Aware' campaign.

Nick Morris, Non Executive Director of the EMCOR UK board and Chairman of EMCOR UK’s CSR committee, commented: “We’re delighted to have been given the opportunity to volunteer once again at the Seashell Trust, having witnessed first-hand how our work last year in restoring the site’s Sensory Garden helped enhance the life of the students that live and learn there. EMCOR continues in its commitment to helping organisations where volunteering really makes a difference; we thank the EMCOR supply chain and the other local companies that supplied equipment and volunteers for the project. We’re proud our work at the Trust will ensure that students can continue using and enjoying the space.”

Chief Executive, Mark Geraghty, from the Seashell Trust, commented: "The expertise of the EMCOR team was of great benefit to us and the variety of grounds maintenance work they performed to such a high standard was brilliant. The outside leisure area provides a safe and educational space in which our students – many of whom have dual impairments and multi disabilities – can develop their understanding and enjoyment of the world. The space is a critical part of the educational timetable and after school activity, and the time and effort taken by the EMCOR team to upgrade the area is greatly appreciated; we would be more than happy to have them back for a third year running."

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