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Day of gardening and roofing for developers

A charity that helps children and young people with emotional and behavioural difficulties has had help maintaining its farmhouse base, thanks to the hard work of staff from Kings Hill developer Liberty Property Trust UK Ltd. 

Twenty five staff from Liberty’s Kent and London offices took the day off work to help out at Dandelion Time’s Elmscroft House in West Farleigh, where they spent the time weeding, removing Japanese Knotweed and ragwort, strimming paths, redecorating the main entrance hall, stripping and repolishing the parquet floor, installing replacement windows and building a new porch roof.

They were taking part in the ‘Bill Rouse Day of Caring’, when the 400 employees of Liberty Property Trust in the UK and USA spend a day helping their communities in commemoration of the life of the company’s founder Bill Rouse, who died in 2003.

Dandelion Time was founded in 2003 by local doctor Caroline Jessel to help children from 7 to16 who have various behavioural, educational and emotional needs, and their families. 

It uses practical tasks to raise self-esteem and self-awareness and the children can spend the time tending the garden, looking after the farm animals, doing woodwork and other practical skills. One of the highlights of the day is cooking lunch and the children and their families sitting around the table in the farmhouse kitchen to eat it.

The centre, which is not residential, looks after around 280 children either at Elmscroft House or in local schools. 

Richard Long, Trustee of Dandelion Time said that the charity depends on the generosity of organisations and individuals. “Many of the children we look after have been through some terrible times and our staff do a wonderful job to boost their confidence and bring back their zest for life.

“We appreciate everyone who helps us help the children. As we do not have the resources to do everything we want to, especially in relation to maintaining the grounds, we are extremely grateful to the staff from Liberty who all worked very hard gardening and doing repair work in the house.”

Andrew Blevins, managing director of Liberty Property Trust UK Ltd said: “It is such a worthwhile cause and we are delighted to have been able to provide Dandelion Time with some help.

“It was far more physically demanding than sitting behind a desk in the office - but we all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

“As well as helping the charity, we were also commemorating the life of Liberty’s founder Bill Rouse, whose ethos in life was to help others and who was such an inspiration to everyone he met.”

The Bill Rouse Day of Caring takes place on the Friday nearest to Bill’s birthday, June 19. Projects Liberty staff have been involved in so far include Leybourne Grange Riding Centre for the Disabled; Spadeworks; Burham Youth Club; Maidstone Centre for the Homeless; Help the Aged Day Centre in West Malling, two Scout camp sites in Loose and Sittingbourne and the Quest School in Offham.

Dandelion Time is organising Open Air Shakespeare on Sunday 3 July when the Hazlitt Theatre Company will perform ‘The Comedy of Errors’ in the grounds of Elmscroft House; an Autumn Preserves Workshop to make chutneys and jams on 27 September and a Green Woodworking Workshop on 1 October. A Christmas Fayre is also planned. For more details visit www.dandeliontime.org.uk <http://www.dandeliontime.org.uk> , email info@dandeliontime.org.uk or call 01622 814001. The events list is also on Facebook at facebook.com/dandeliontime.

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