Devon children help redesign sensory garden to feel more at home

A number of children staying at Welland House, which provides essential support for families of children with complex needs in Barnstaple, have redesigned the home’s sensory garden area to help them feel more at home and enjoy their stays. 

Children, with support from colleagues who care for them, helped to choose a range of useful equipment and plants to enhance the sensory garden area. New equipment such as a mud kitchen for mud play as a source of learning for children to develop their creative skills has been added to the garden.

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.

Welland House is a Registered Children’s Home providing short breaks for young people with complex needs that provides an environment where they can spend time with other young people and give their families and carers the chance to recharge. Children can stay at the home for between a day in the holidays and three nights a week and even longer at times.

In Exeter at Meadowpark – another Virgin Care run Children’s Home – has also had a revamp to make facilities more welcoming and enjoyable for visitors.

Louise Davey, Home Manager for Virgin Care’s Devon Family Support Services, said:  “The children who helped alongside our colleagues have made a huge difference which will benefit more children who will 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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