Caister garden makeover means four-year-old Jayden can enjoy the great outdoors
- Credit: Archant
Kicking a ball across the grass, checking his seedlings, and playing in the Wendy house - Jayden Howells could not be happier pottering around his garden at home.
But until few weeks ago the disabled four-year-old could only look out on an uninviting rubble-strewn patch as his parents struggled to find the time or money to set it straight.
Now thanks to the WellChild charity and a team of local volunteers a whole new world has opened up to the youngster and his family who can enjoy time together outside while giving Jayden some freedom to explore.
Following a council-built extension to their Edinburgh Close home in Caister, Elwyn and Rachelle Howells have had their hands full caring for Jayden who has complex needs and their three other children,
The youngster suffers from a condition which means he has difficulty breathing and needs 24-hour care.
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And while he is fully ventilated at night he can manage for himself with a tracheostomy for most of the day, always enjoying his outdoor play at nursery.
Mr Howells heard about WellChild's Helping Hands scheme and made an application, resulting in a team of eight volunteers spending two days transforming the garden into a safe, usable space.
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'It is amazing that there are people out there that do genuinely want to help,' Mr Howells said. 'It has made a fantastic difference to Jayden and to us as a family. We can safely observe him and he can interact with us.'
Because of Jayden's illness going to the park is a major expedition which is fraught with problems, Mr Howells said.
The fake grass was safer because of his tracheostomy, he said, and the decking made an ideal platform to watch Jayden at play and riding his specialist bike.
A raised bed for growing produce was proving a hit with the young lad too, helping him to take more interest in food and encouraging him to eat small morsels.
The charity also helped the family to get the hedges and the rest of the garden under control and make the area secure and safe.
Jayden has diaphragmatic myopathy, a weakness and paralysis of the diaphragm. He is fed using a gastrostomy feeding tube and while he is not able to speak he communicates with sign language. The extension, put in over two years ago, provided a bedroom 'like an intensive care unit' but took a large chunk of the garden and wrecked what was left.
Although he has lots of problems and needs 24 hour care Jayden is described as a happy, active little boy who loves to play.
All being well he is due to start at Caister Infant School in September.
For more information about the charity visit www.wellchild.org.uk.