Last October, we spent the day volunteering at Ambitious about Autism’s Treehouse School, helping them to create their ‘Saplings’ site, so that the young people could have practical experience of horticulture with a view to later employment.
We enjoyed our day – which was organised with the help of our amazing client Project Dirt – so much that this spring we asked if we could return! Our host Julia welcomed us back with open arms, and new ambitious plans that the school needed our help with.
This time around, the school is preparing the young people to take part in the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme – a great adventure and major challenge for any young person, let alone with the additional challenges that can come with autism. I can personally attest, from a neurotypical perspective, that it is no easy feat, having completed the bronze award too long ago to reveal without giving away my age!
It was lovely to return to see the Saplings site we worked on last year in use while we were there, and to see how it had changed over time.
But the main work was in clearing a suitable area for the young people to practice camping,
Tidying up the surrounding areas,
And collecting sticks they can use to learn how to make a campfire!
Of course we stopped for some team time, heading back to Queen’s Wood cafe, to introduce our new team members to their locally sourced, sustainable (and delicious!) menu.
Everyone enjoyed the day, with the team members sharing their highlights afterwards:
“[It was] Very satisfying to see what we’d achieved together.”
“Getting some relaxed time away from work with everyone.”
“Chitchatting with team members, seeing the results of our work.”
“Being outside in the great weather and spending time with the team away from the keyboard.”
And our host Julia said:
“I really love working with you and your colleagues, you are a fun bunch to have around!”
While our team is keen to try volunteering with different charities, we are all happy to give back more, and will no doubt be returning to Treehouse School again in the next year! If you’d like to support Ambitious about Autism, or get involved with any other community project, we highly recommend doing so. If you’re not sure where to start with finding and organising something, you could try asking Project Dirt to suggest something, and organise a day for you!