Staff from the Northallerton Marks & Spencer stores swapped their store uniform for boots and overalls for a day on the Farm with autism charity Daisy Chain.

Daisy Chain is one of 400 organisations across the UK to receive volunteer support from Marks & Spencer as part of a nationwide week of action to support young people.

As part of the M&S Volunteer Week, the organisation receives a £500 donation to be spent on materials which employees then use to improve the project.

At Daisy Chain the plan was for a makeover of the farm house garden – cutting back, weeding, edging and planting an array of new plants.

Neeraj Sharma, Daisy Chain chief executive, said: “The grounds and gardens here at our 5.5 acre Norton site play an extremely important role in offering young people and families affected by autism a safe haven of peace and tranquillity.

‘We have play areas, sensory areas and gardens which are vital to the work we do with young people with autism but it is a major and ongoing task to maintain such a large site so we are always delighted and overwhelmed when we get support from groups who can make a huge difference in a short time.

‘It was fantastic to be able to welcome the M&S volunteers to Daisy Chain and thank them for choosing us to receive their generous support and hard work.’

The 8-strong volunteers were part of a 5,000-strong army of colleagues from more than 600 M&S stores across the UK who took part in the week-long volunteering drive, committing over 40,000 hours to projects which work to improve the lives of children, young people and families.

Mum Sophie Sherwood was in the M&S team and was delighted that Daisy Chain was chosen for their volunteering day as she attends with her daughters – Amber, 8, who is being assessed for autism and Hollie, 5. ‘We have been coming to Daisy Chain for a year and it is fantastic, I couldn’t get my name down fast enough to volunteer for the day.’

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