Honouring Jake Smith with "Jake's Treehouse" at Robert Wilkinson School

Case Study

Award Winning Design at Robert Wilkinson Primary Academy, York

In December 2016, the passing of four-year-old Jake Smith deeply affected the community of Strensall and Robert Wilkinson School. In memory of Jake, his family, alongside the school and community, embarked on a journey to create a lasting tribute.

Playscheme was honoured to be part of this heartfelt endeavour, working closely with Jake’s family and the school to design, create, and install a special space: “Jake’s Treehouse.”

Community Collaboration and Fundraising:

Playscheme initiated the project in March 2017, collaborating with Jake’s family and Robert Wilkinson School. Together, they embarked on a fundraising campaign, aiming to raise £25,000. The response from the community was overwhelming, with numerous fundraising events organised, including bake sales, marathons, triathlons, and bike rides. The incredible generosity resulted in exceeding the fundraising goal, with a total of £31,000 raised. The surplus funds were donated to two charities close to Jake’s family.

Designing “Jake’s Treehouse”

Playscheme’s design team meticulously crafted “Jake’s Treehouse” to encapsulate the essence of Jake’s vibrant personality. The treehouse was conceptualised as an elevated space, featuring a raised walkway, tree platform, clatter bridge, and sensory gazebo. Inspired by Jake’s spirit, the design incorporated quirky angles and vibrant colours, reflecting his liveliness and enthusiasm. The gazebo served as an educational and recreational outdoor space, allowing children to learn and play in a mystical and magical environment.

Community Involvement and Installation:

The project fostered community involvement, with pupils from Robert Wilkinson School actively participating in the creation of “Jake’s Treehouse.” Playscheme’s Managing Director, Steve Danby, engaged with the school community, assisting in the installation of a river bed with the pupils. A planting space was incorporated into the area, allowing families to plant flowers in memory of Jake. The installation was completed before the children returned to school, with the official opening taking place on September 23rd

Legacy and Recognition:

“Jake’s Treehouse” stands as a testament to the power of community support and collaboration. Beyond being a cherished memorial, it continues to serve as a symbol of unity and resilience. Jake’s family and the school continue to raise funds for Dravet Syndrome UK and York Inspirational Kids, honouring Jake’s memory and supporting causes close to their hearts. In 2019, Playscheme received the Young People’s Choice York Design Award for its exceptional work on “Jake’s Treehouse,” as voted by school children and under 18s, further cementing its significance and impact.


“Jake’s Treehouse” at Robert Wilkinson School is more than just a physical structure; it is a symbol of love, remembrance, and community spirit. Playscheme’s involvement in this heartfelt project exemplifies its dedication to creating meaningful and inclusive outdoor spaces. Through collaboration, creativity, and compassion, “Jake’s Treehouse” continues to enrich the lives of children and families, leaving a lasting legacy that honours the memory of Jake Smith.