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Garden makeover boost for children with autism

PUBLISHED: 10:54 15 January 2019 | UPDATED: 11:13 15 January 2019

The garden at Sunbeams Play after the transformation Picture: Sunbeams Play

The garden at Sunbeams Play after the transformation Picture: Sunbeams Play

Sunbeams Play

Norfolk's only play centre for children and young people with autism is hailing the "amazing" transformation of its outdoor space.

The Sunbeams Play garden before the transformation Picture: Sunbeams PlayThe Sunbeams Play garden before the transformation Picture: Sunbeams Play

Thanks to a raft of funders and people prepared to roll up their sleeves to help Sunbeams Play on Gapton Hall Road is looking forward to introducing its young visitors to its all-weather garden.

Where once there was an uninviting space constantly bogged down by drainage issues because of its marshy location, there is now a low-maintenance garden area to explore, play games, bike, scooter and enjoy being in the fresh air.

MORE: ‘It is you that has to change’ - the driving force behind Norfolk’s only play centre for children with autism

Deputy manager Sue Carr said they couldn’t be happier with the new area, chiming with research about the benefits of being outside for those on the autistic spectrum - boosting physical activity and communication.

She said: “Many of the children and young people we support are also diagnosed with conditions affecting attention skills, hyperactivity, aggression, self-injury, destructive and stereotype behaviours.

The Sunbeams Play garden before and after the transformation. Picture: Sunbeams PlayThe Sunbeams Play garden before and after the transformation. Picture: Sunbeams Play

“After reading studies that have shown that regular exercise has a number of benefits we decided to improve our outside area.

“When children and young people engage in sports they build social relationships with peers and work with others to accomplish goals, improve listening skills and building confidence, allowing them to feel like they have a role in society and the chance to be part of a team.

“Children with autism tend to live more inactive lifestyles, making it harder for them to maintain their health.”

Using artificial grass has improved the appearance of the garden area and is durable, clean and safe, with little or no maintenance.

The centre thanked Tesco Bags of Help - Groundworks UK, the Little Acorns Community Fund with the Norfolk Community Foundation, the Co-op Community Dividend Fund, LA Grass and the Tesco Great Yarmouth Community Team.

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