Feel the Difference fund gives Devon children’s home new sensory garden

Meadowpark, which provides essential support for families of children with complex health needs in Exeter, has redesigned the home’s garden to support engaging meaningful sensory garden activities to help them feel more at home and enjoy their stays.

Meadowpark is a registered children’s home providing short breaks for children in an environment where they can spend time with other young people and give their families and carers the chance to recharge.

The garden now provides better accessibility to wooden raised beds for children to access various gardening projects such as growing their own vegetables, herbs and flowers which can then be used in other activities such as cooking or craft making.

IMG_20170920_140700Some of the young people, who have limited physical abilities, are now able to enjoy the smells and feel of the garden alongside the smells and tastes of cooking the produce.

As part of the redesign, a willow amphitheatre has been planted which will grow and develop into a story-telling area for the young people to listen and take part.

Virgin Care which runs the home, and has done on behalf of the local NHS since 2013, funded the improvements through its Feel the Difference Fund. The fund is a dedicated £100,000 a year that’s made available for projects designed and delivered by local colleagues which improve the experience of using Virgin Care’s services.

It was also supported by children alongside their families and donations such as plants, stones and stone dust for paths were made from local businesses to bring the garden to life.

Last year, Meadowpark also had a revamp to make facilities more welcoming and enjoyable for visitors.

Andrew Levett, Home Manager for Virgin Care’s Devon Family Support Services, said:  “Those who helped alongside families and our colleagues have made a huge difference which will benefit many more children to enjoy this space over time.

“It not only enhances their experience in making it a home away from home, but also encourages our young people to develop and extend their emotional literacy further through outdoor play and sensory activities when they stay with us.”

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