ANDOVER-based Simplyhealth has joined forces with a local charity to help make an allotment even more inclusive and accessible to all.

A team of six employees swapped a day at their desks to get stuck in at the Boaz Project, a farm-based charity for adults with learning disabilities near Barton Stacey.

One section of the allotment garden has soft fruit cages for growing raspberries. Quentin James, product director at Simplyhealth, joined colleagues on a previous visit who dug out footings to prepare the ground for paving. In July, he returned with new volunteers who finished the job by laying slabs. This has levelled the surface, making the space safe and accessible for all, including wheelchair users.

READ MORE: Harlees sets new date for opening of fish and chip shop in Andover

Quentin said: “We have had a few new people join the team. The visit not only provided us with a fantastic opportunity to support the project but allowed us to get to know one another and work as a team. We were lucky enough to have good weather and the fresh air was greatly appreciated.”

The Simplyhealth crew also joined in daily activities, including feeding the chickens, collecting eggs and a group walk with donkeys. Employee Holly Lock said it has been a “privilege” to help such an “inspiring” scheme.

Only seven per cent of adults with learning disabilities are in paid employment. Boaz offers friendship, the opportunity to learn new skills and be productive in a horticultural setting.

SEE ALSO: The Rockhouse sponsors Pride of Andover Awards category

Boaz manager Stuart Palmer said: “What we particularly love about Simplyhealth is the care with which they engage with our organisation at all levels. They never assume, they always listen and when on site with us they are flexible and kind to everyone they meet. It says a lot about their corporate culture and we are most grateful for both the financial and human support they provide to us.”

In 2022, Simplyhealth became the first UK health insurer to become B Corp certified, which means it meets a high standard of environmental and social performance. Staff are given three days of paid volunteer-leave each year to support their local communities.