Wynyard Hall has picked Daisy Chain as its charity of the year and things got off to a splashing start with a wellie walk and coin collection from the decorative fountains.

Youngsters spent an activity day following a scenic trail around the gardens and emptying all the coins thrown into the fountains by wish-makers, totalling a £300 donation to the autism support charity.

The charity, which supports 2,000 families affected by autism in the Tees Valley, also recently held its inaugural 5k trail run, the Daisy Dash, around a beautiful and challenging course in the grounds of Wynyard Hall, which is set in 150 acres of historical landscape.

Senior managers at the four-star hotel and spa have undertaken Daisy Chain’s autism awareness course to ensure staff have an understanding of autism spectrum disorder which may affect guests, visitors and staff.

Ingrid Brough-Williams, sales and marketing manager, said it was important to Wynyard Hall to support a local charity. “We wanted to support a charity that is part of the community and Daisy Chain supports so many families affected by autism across the Tees Valley.

“It is important to us to work with our chosen charity in depth and involve all our staff in the activities. It’s not only about raising funds, it is about awareness. We want to make sure that Wynyard Hall offers the best and most positive experience for everyone – our guests, visitors and staff. We recognised that a lot of people who come to the hotel are affected by autism, which is why Daisy Chain resonated with us."

Wynyard Hall employs 250 staff and hosts 100,000 visitors annually – over 16,000 of those visit during the Christmas period alone. Ingrid said, “With that amount of people, it is important we take special care to ensure everyone is catered for and their needs are considered. We have around 100 weddings held here where children and other guests may be on the spectrum so we need to accommodate them so they have the best experience too.”

Demonstrating the commitment to make Wynyard Hall autism friendly, the team is also working with Daisy Chain to explore the possibility of offering work placements with a view to moving on to employ staff with ASD.

Ingrid added, “I admire Daisy Chain and the work it does. When we did the training, even people who thought they knew a lot about autism learned something and understood more about it. It showed managers the benefits of employing people on the spectrum.”

Holly Abbott, corporate partnerships manager of Daisy Chain, said, “It’s fantastic to see a corporate supporter so committed to raising awareness of autism and to providing the best experience for visitors to their venue who on the spectrum. It shows that there is more to supporting a charity than just fundraising but of course, we are also delighted with all the funds Wynyard Hall is helping us to raise as their chosen charity of the year.”