I’ve just read an article on ‘How To Be Optimistic – Even At Rock Bottom’ …. so here goes nothing…..!
This is the current state of Penny Field School (NWSILC) playground/garden.
It’s sad, dated and let’s face it dilapidated.
Yes there are some basic apparatus
None of which is particularly suitable or fit for purpose for our children …
There’s a small bridge/walk way across the centre of the playground, although for the large amount of wheelchair users in school this isn’t much to get enthusiastic over really is it? These children need a reason to get outdoors and put smiles on their faces.
Blimey, even the pot plants and planters in the entrance way and alcoves are looking sad!
There is no outdoor shelter, although I’m proud to say that funding has been raised (through a personal collection at my Mum’s funeral, together with a limited amount of school funding) to provide for this and we hope to install a simple awning/shelter of bright canvas outside somewhere appropriate.
The fact of the matter is … THIS garden is the daily outdoor space for approximately 60 children, all with special needs (many profound and medically complex), most with mobility issues and/or complications. For these children, being at school is a huge part of their lives. Inside this safe haven they are stimulated and cared for, by a dedicated team of wonderful staff. They are educated (at their level and to their means) in a protected and stable environment – whilst their hard-working, and often overwrought, parents and carers can take the time to recharge their batteries, as this is often their only opportunity. We so desperately want for them to enjoy their outdoor space too.
In Yorkshire we don’t have the best of weather, as a rule, so come rain or shine we want a purposeful, enjoyable and aesthetically pleasing area where our children can play, get fresh air and exercise (where possible) and just generally enjoy being in the ‘great outdoors.’
It really is SUCH a fabulous space and, as these photographs prove, it is just crying out for some professional input and major TLC! I believe it has the potential of being an AMAZING outdoor space for our special children. I only wish I had the money, the time and the know-how to make the changes it needs. Myself and the other parents/carers/friends want nothing more than to turn it around and to put a smile on the faces of these children.
Fortunately, we have a small but strong group of willing parents/carers/friends who are determined to try do just that – it is our intention to help turn this outdoor space around … However, with limited resource, little funding, and sparse supplies, and if we’re being perfectly honest with very little clue as to where we’re heading, – it might all be a bit fruitless.
We’ve earmarked Thursday, 20th August, to spend the day at the school, whatever the weather. We will be armed with our positivity, our gardening gloves and wellies, bits and bats from our own gardens, tools we can scrape together and a very welcome supply of home-made refreshments to keep us going and we certainly aim to make an impression. The thing is most of us will have our children in tow (it being the school summer holidays) but as this is our only opportunity (outside of the school academic year) we have to jump on it.
We really don’t know where to start, I’m not sure we’ve much of a clue as to where we’re headed – but with the goodwill and determination of a handful of wilful souls we will endeavour to succeed.
If you or your business, can offer any help, by means of ideas, landscaping advice, tools, donations, refreshments, plants, manpower or donations of anything else you think could make even the smallest difference then we really would love to hear from you.
Please help us to make our special children smile.
THANKS IN ADVANCE for reading this plea … and for any help you’re able to offer.
I’ll be sure to keep you posted on our efforts.