A partnership programme between Beech Grove Homes and one of its contractors has helped hearing impaired pupils at one Essex school.

Beech Grove Homes is part of Sanctuary Group, one of the UK’s leading providers of housing and part of their commitment is to support local communities where they develop through an initiative called MORE! This programme sees their development partners work alongside them to donate manpower, materials, or equipment to help local community projects – one such project was helping The Sweyne Park School in Rayleigh.


The Sweyne Park School is a successful academy for pupils aged 11-19 years of age and features an innovative Resource Base which provides accoustic support for pupils with hearing loss. The school, built in 1957 is an important education provider to families moving to new homes in the area, such as those currently being built by Beech Grove Homes at their Bullwood Gardens development.

Interior of Sweyne Park School


The school needed help in renovating one of it’s Resource Base classrooms which had poor acoustics and therefore was not suitable for young people who used it. Sanctuary were able to provide assistance with their Beech Grove Homes partner Hill Construction. They funded the fitting of acoustic roofing tiles and the school were able to refurbish the space in the school’s colours, with bright furnishings and modern learning technologies that transformed the space into a vibrant environment for up to 30 students at a time.


Simon Smith, Sweyne Park School’s Learning Environment Leader said “We are extremely pleased with the project. . It is bright fresh and has good quality IT equipment. The acoustic performance of the room is second to none and it makes a real difference to the inclusion of deaf pupils within lessons. The acoustic properties also give improvements to the overall quality of teaching and learning for all. Thanks so much to Sanctuary and Hill Construction!”

Interior of Sweyne Park School

Another outcome of the relationship between the school and Beech Grove Homes’ Bullwood Gardens development was the appointment of two of the school’s former students, Aaron Unsworth and Tom Matthews on to Hill Construction’s modern apprenticeship programme. Aaron was appointed as a Trainee Contract Surveyor and Tom as Trainee Technical Coordinator, working toward a BSc Hons degree.

Hill Construction’s apprentices Aaron and Tom

They started their modern apprenticeship in September, but returned to the school to see the works carried out and both said it was an odd feeling being back at school: “It felt strange being back, being the visitor turning up in a suit and being shown around the school where I used to go.” said Aaron, while Tom added “Seeing all my old teachers was good and it gave me a chance to thank them for getting me the grades I needed for my apprenticeship degree with Hill Construction.”

Speaking about the work carried out as part of the MORE! programme Aaron said he was very impressed: “The changes made the classroom feel a lot larger and brighter, and made hearing a lot easier when compared to one of the older classrooms. I’m sure it will massively benefit pupils and make a huge difference to their studies”

Colleen Eccles spearheads the MORE! campaign and is Head of Place Shaping at Sanctuary: “We always seek to support local schools in the areas where we develop, such as Bullwood Gardens which is less than ten minutes away from Sweyne Park School. It’s a brilliant way of getting to know the wider community and promote exciting career options for young people with the diverse opportunities available within construction. In this case the school had identified a pressing need that we were able to support. The results look amazing and the fact that two young students from the school also gained employment with Hill Construction just goes to show the mutual benefit of working with local schools.”

Hill Construction and Sanctuary Group partnership

Beech Grove Home are currently developing Bullwood Gardens, an exciting new development of quality homes in Hockley between Chelmsford and Southend in Essex. For more information on Bullwood Gardens please visit www.beechgrovehomes.co.uk/bullwoodgardens.

#ThisIsHome #doMORE

Back to News


For help finding your perfect new home Contact us