ISS Facility Services Landscaping and their client Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead have been helping adults with learning disabilities gain new skills.
Since January of this year, a group of eight adults from Boyn Grove Community Resource Centre, dubbed the ‘Raymill Rangers’, have been working with ISS at Raymill Island in Maidenhead.
The 1.6-hectare island is maintained by ISS as part of their grounds maintenance contract with the Royal Borough and houses an aviary and guinea pig enclosure, a small play area for children, picnic tables and a private cafe.
Each week, the ‘Raymill Rangers’ carry out a range of basic horticultural tasks including pruning of shrubs, hand weeding, grass edging and hoeing. These form part of a 13-point skills assessment programme devised by ISS’ Technical Trainers, which will give the group a basic understanding of maintenance tasks and a skills certificate once successfully completed.
Following the success of this initiative, ISS and the Royal Borough have started a second similar scheme with adults with learning disabilities at Windsor Cemetery.
Phil Jones, managing director, ISS Facility Services Landscaping, said “Our aspiration is to make a positive impact in the communities where we live and operate.
“This means everybody working together to make a better place to live. Together with our client the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, ISS wanted to create a positive new opportunity to support local community members with learning disabilities, to build sustainable relationships and a sense of belonging in our communities.”
He added: “The initiative at Raymill Island does just that with our ‘Rangers’ not only experiencing a sense of pride and community but learning some basic skills which will enhance their lives going forwards.”
Cllr Samantha Rayner, cabinet member for culture and communities at the Royal Borough, said: “We are very proud of the outdoor spaces we have in the borough and we are always looking for new ways for the community to enjoy and engage with them.
“The Raymill Rangers programme does a brilliant job of involving residents who might not otherwise get this kind of opportunity as well as offering a chance to learn new skills and make a real difference to their local community.”