Charity groups across Barnsley have been able to safeguard and extend their life-changing services thanks to the generosity of Henry Boot Construction.
The construction company, a major partner in The Glass Works scheme to re-develop Barnsley town centre, has donated nearly £400,000 to good causes over the five-year lifetime of the project.
As The Glass Works’ shops and leisure destinations prepare to open, Henry Boot Construction has revealed the transformative impact of its philanthropic work in the borough.
One of the charity projects to benefit from a recent cash donation was Penistone Knitting Group which created more than 40,000 mask extenders for NHS and front-line workers during the pandemic.
Henry Boot’s donation enabled volunteers to buy cotton to make the extenders which stopped masks rubbing and improved comfort for exhausted staff.
Sheryll Dixon, the group’s founder, said the 197-strong team of active knitters were able to supply 15 hospitals and 38 nursing homes, and 5,000 mask extenders were delivered to Great Ormond Street Hospital.
“The donation has helped me concentrate on running the group instead of worrying where the money was going to come from to fund our projects,” explained Sheryll.
“We’ve had some wonderful feedback from staff and have even been included in a thank you mural at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield to thank everyone who helped NHS staff.”
Another charity helped by Henry Boot Construction is Station House Community Association in Thurnscoe, which provides childcare and support services to many families living in poverty.
Henry Boot Construction sent two employees to tackle odd jobs which subsequently made a huge impact.
“They listened to what we needed and exceeded our expectations,” said Station House Community Association chief executive Charlotte Williams.
“As a small local charity every penny is spent on the children’s experience. That means that our environment is often neglected. When Henry Boot sent two highly qualified workers for the day to do all our niggle jobs, it was transformational.
“Having a building that is fit for purpose means that everyday our employees, volunteers and service users know that they are valued.”
Henry Boot Construction also funded Christmas parties, gifts, and visits from Santa and a reptile handler for older children.
Charlotte added: “Most families who use Station House have several children, so a trip to see Santa could cost more than their weekly food budget.
“The children were enchanted. These sorts of encounters are normally well beyond the budget of our families. Constant financial stress is just a day-to-day part of our families’ lives, so any support to alleviate that has a huge impact through the whole family.”
Building work at the Barnsley Council-funded flagship redevelopment scheme is now complete but the legacy of the project lives on across the borough, says Ryan O’Loughlin, director at Henry Boot Construction.
“The award-winning Glass Works scheme has delivered good outcomes across the board. We’ve invested nearly £400,000 in local charities and good causes and supported local skills through education and creating jobs.
“Over the five years we’ve welcomed almost 700 school children and students on site so they can better understand what we do. The visits have also served to inspire young people and showcase some of the careers available.
“We’ve also given back to the community in terms of job opportunities. We’ve created 28 apprenticeships on site and helped 28 unemployed people into full time work. The lasting impact of our work on this project is significant.
“As a South Yorkshire company with 93 per cent of our project team based locally, we’re immensely proud of The Glass Works’ social value and impact of our work in Barnsley and beyond.”