Helpers show some real community spirit

Ryegate centre make over  Les Harrison
Ryegate centre make over Les Harrison

VOLUNTEERS toiled around the clock twice to ensure a Sheffield children’s therapy unit was brought up to scratch.

Work worth around £100,000 was carried out over a 48-hour period at the Ryegate Children’s Centre, Tapton Crescent Road, Broomhill, by employees of Barnsley-based Dransfield Properties, their friends and family.

Mark Dransfield, the company’s managing director, said: “We decided to carry out the project after a team of our staff and friends went to the centre to present them with a cheque for £15,000, which we had raised by going on a sponsored bicycle ride from Marseille, in France, to Portofino, Italy.

“We were shocked at the state of the centre and decided to do something about it.”

The company offered to revamp the reception area, gym and the sensory room.

Mr Dransfield, who took part in the fundraising cycle trip, said: “In total, 20 people donned overalls and wielded paint brushes.

“We worked in shifts at the weekend, starting on Friday evening and working through until Sunday. We laid new floors, fitted new suspended ceilings, lighting, signage and revamped the reception area. On the Sunday, wives and partners came down and helped to clean up, so we could hand back the centre by the evening.”

The centre, run by Sheffield Children’s Hospital, provides more than 3,000 therapy sessions for disabled children each year. It houses the hospital’s physiotherapy, occupational therapy and hydrotherapy services for children with disabilities.

Mr Dransfield said: “The improvement is quite dramatic - the work would have cost £100,000 if the centre had to pay for it.”

As well as his own company, Mr Dransfield asked Chesterfield architects WCEC to help design the improvements.

Jenny Featherstone, team leader for community physiotherapy and occupational therapy at the Ryegate Children’s Centre, said: “Staff have been amazed at the level of commitment and generosity Dransfield Properties and their team have shown and we are extremely grateful.”

The revamp at Ryegate has been included as part of the hospital’s Arts for Health project to improve facilities, which also includes new equipment, toys and fun designs on the walls at the centre.