Chamber Member, The Sensory Hive, receive generous donation from Knowsley Business Award finalist

The Sensory Hive, which is the result of a lot of hard work by co-founders, Sharon Alcock and Hayley Peden will take a step closer to opening in the coming months when the finishing touches are completed with the land and building.

The project is a not-for-profit company run by Sharon and Hayley who are parents of children with additional needs. The charity aims to open their sensory and therapeutic centre in Whiston, Knowsley in 2020 and will support individuals who have neuro-developmental conditions.

Prior to opening the dynamic-duo have received an unexpected funding boost from a local company that has been based in Merseyside for almost 100 years and was shortlisted at the Knowsley Business Awards in November.

Rachael Baker from JJ Smith & Co, finalists for two awards at the Knowsley Business Awards this year, said:  “Unfortunately, we didn’t win an award on the night but it was fantastic to be shortlisted and recognised for our success within our industry, both locally and on a global scale.”

“Being shortlisted for Small Business of the Year 2019 and Apprentice of the Year 2019 was an achievement in itself. As a family business we build long-term relationships with suppliers, customers and employees; with our belief in the value of good apprenticeships being a key feature of our business model.  Over 1/3 of our current employees started their careers with us as an apprentice and we look forward to seeing what the future holds for our current apprentices.”

JJ Smith did not leave the Awards empty handed though. Sales Director John Stanley won £1,000 in the raffle on the night. On stage John announced that the winnings would all be donated to The Sensory Hive.

One of JJ Smith’s long serving employees has a connection to the Sensory Hive and is a cause the company say they are proud to be able to support and will ensure the donation stays in Knowsley.

Kevin Jones from JJ Smith (and Uncle to Hayley Peden), said:  “It is lovely to be able to help. The Sensory Hive is going to be an amazing place. I am over the moon that the company I have worked at for 35 years has embraced my passion for supporting Hayley and Sharon with this wonderful contribution to The Sensory Hive, which will become a real Knowsley asset.”

Hayley said: “The funding is an unexpected boost and very generous. It is so thoughtful of JJ Smith to think of us. It has all happened so quickly. My Uncle was only telling the team about us a few weeks ago. Just based on what he has told them about our plans for The Sensory Hive they have now donated this amazing amount. It is such a family focused company with many long serving employees. Kevin’s dad (my Grandad), Jack Jones was a crane operator at JJ Smith in the 1980’s so I feel a real connection to the business.”

Sharon said: “We will put this funding towards the cost of some of our resources. We still have a lot of funds to raise but this money can go towards two much needed swings that will be specially built for our visitors. The swings will be durable so this funding will bring smiles to thousands of children and young adults over the years.”

The Sensory Hive still need more support. They have more resources to purchase, but they also need help with decorating and refurbishment before the building can open. If there are more Knowsley businesses, like JJ Smith, who want to see the Knowsley £ making a real difference and would like to support Sharon and Hayley in getting The Sensory Hive up and running, please contact Knowsley Chamber.