The Netherlands

TIAS Ranstad create sensory outdoor area for severely disabled

TIAS Ranstad | Hartekamp Groep

“The residents were looking out of their windows at the work being done by the team. The team really understood this wasn’t just a hospital, but people’s homes, and they were there to do something really quite special for them,” said Splash Projects Project Manager, Tommy Trindall.

The team of 30 from Randstad came together from all over the world to create a flexible sensory outdoor area for the Hartekamp Groep in Heemstede, The Netherlands, as part of their Senior Executive Program at TIAS School for Business and Society.

The charity cares for seriously mentally disabled people aged between 14 and 90 years old with a cognitive age of a five-year-old. Many are wheelchair bound and cannot communicate verbally.

In a day, the team developed a paved area with mobile raised potting beds, water sensory units, tables benches and planters to allow children to connect with elements of the natural environment in a play setting.

“There was one particular young man, Simon, who loved gardening before his disabilities became so bad and now only has enough movement to move his wheelchair’s joystick,” explained Tommy. “He became a driving force during the project and was there every day. We built a bespoke potting table at precisely 878mm high, so his wheelchair could fit underneath and he could reach it.

“Working alongside him made their physical work all the more personal and meaningful.

“The teams were purposefully taken by surprise about the extent of their project. They got stuck into the spirit of it very quickly and were really engaged and excited to be involved. They knew they had to work well as a team for it to have the best impact on the residents.”

He added: “Throughout the pandemic, the residents were hardly able to go out. This project transformed the outside area, giving them shade and a place to sit, enabling them to participate in activities together.

“It will make a huge difference to their wellbeing.”