There are play parks and plenty of outdoor activities to choose from in Harrogate for most children.
However, children and young people with disabilities can often only sit and watch. They may be physically unable to join in or for some the great outdoors can be dangerous, frightening or just not very interesting! These kids tend to see the world differently to most of us. They may be over sensitive to certain stimuli and under sensitive to others.
Wouldn’t it be amazing, thought Lorna Batchelor, if they could have a garden specifically designed for their needs and interests, a safe outdoor place where they can really get involved.
Lorna runs Yorkshire Garden Designs whose projects have included designing the recently developed garden at Southlands Nursing Home. Her 10 year old son George suffers from severe learning disabilities. George loves to go
out and about but he has no concept of danger and his mobility is limited.
He loves to explore textures of different materials, running his hands over things with deep concentration and often putting things in his mouth.
Along with many other disabled kids from across the district aged 8 – 18, George goes for respite breaks at Nidd House, the Nidderdale Children’s Resource Centre in Killinghall.
The centre has extensive grounds and it is here that Lorna sees potential to develop her visionary sensory garden. A
garden that is easily accessible for wheelchair users and full of opportunities to interact with plants, soil, water, wildlife and outdoor materials, promoting learning, physical fitness and self confidence.
Nidd House is run by North Yorkshire County Council who, sadly, are unable to offer any funding for such a project.
Yorkshire Garden Design’s services will be free of charge and several local businesses have pledged their support, agreeing to donate some of the materials and manpower (GH Brooks, Knox Sawmills, Hacs, Yorkshire GroundForce).
However, Lorna still needs to raise around £5000 to make this dream a reality and is asking for donations