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Washington Riding Centre completes new sensory trail with the help of volunteers from local housebuilder

A local riding centre in Washington is benefiting from a continued partnership with a leading housebuilder as a team of volunteers help with the completion of a new sensory trail.

Eleven members of the technical department at Barratt Developments North East visited Washington Riding Centre for the second time last week to help with the development of a new sensory trail.

Having already visited the riding centre once before in August 2021 where they helped clear weeds, prepared garden beds and planters, and planted flowers and shrubs, the team have continued to provide crucial help to the facility.

Barratt’s green-fingered technical department visited the riding centre last week where they helped to plant fruit trees to create a new orchard within the sensory trail garden, and planted flowers and shrubs to transform an empty field into a wheelchair accessible trail for riders and walkers alike.

This comes as part of Barratt Developments North East ‘Donate a Day’ programme, where all employees are encouraged to pledge two fully paid days of volunteering to a local cause each year, which plays a part in ensuring the housebuilder continues to support the communities in which it builds.

Barratt Developments North East employee, Karen Velleman, heard about Washington Riding Centre and its mission to provide a safe and equal environment for non-disabled and disabled people together and suggested the team volunteer their time to help build the trail.

The centre provides riding lessons to around 130 children and adults with a range of disabilities and special educational needs each month, and the sensory trail will serve to stimulate the senses and improve their experience with features that visitors can see, touch, smell and hear.

In addition to this, Washington Riding Centre delivers a ‘Disability Awareness Through Animals’ workshop in schools to give children the opportunity to get up close to horses and learn about them, their environment, and their care, as well as to raise disability awareness and encourage volunteering and care within the community.

Paula Archer, Chair of Washington Riding Centre said: “We’re very grateful to the volunteers at Barratt Developments for helping us with the progress of the sensory trail. It will have a big impact on the individuals we provide lessons to by enriching their experience and developing their senses.”

Stephen Wooldridge, Technical Director at Barratt Developments North East, added: “The Washington Riding Centre does a great deal of work to support local people with disabilities and special education needs. We are always looking for ways to help the communities in which we build and myself and the team were pleased to be able to aid the centre again in creating the sensory trail. We hope the trail will improve the experiences of visitors and it continues to provide a safe and positive environment.”

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The Barratt North East team at Washington Riding Centre

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