On Wednesday 12th July, we were very excited to host the launch of our newly created Children’s Garden at our East Surrey Centre in Redhill. The all-weather play area was officially opened by Councillor Roger Newstead, Mayor of Reigate & Banstead.
A great day was had – the weather stayed kind to us, and we were pleased to be joined by around 100 people. There was a mix of families, local professionals, local councillors, Welcare trustees, funders (or their family members), volunteer groups and former Welcare staff. There was a buffet food spread with butterfly-themed colourful cupcakes and a beautiful rainbow cake filled with smarties that the mayor officially cut for us. The children loved playing with the new activities and it was a colourful noisy day filled with lots of fun and laughter!
We are incredibly grateful to all those who helped make the garden project a reality, from dedicated staff to inspiring funders, from the volunteers who gave their time in so many ways to the suppliers that donated items. Thank you so much for the prayers that supported us throughout and, of course, for the families that make it all worthwhile.
Over 400 people have used the new children’s garden over the last month. The garden will meet the needs of the many local families who do not have access to either a garden or a safe outdoor play space. It also offers outside multi-sensory play specially designed to meet the needs of children with disabilities.
Outside play helps to prevent childhood obesity and vitamin D deficiency. This is particularly important locally, as Year 6 children in Reigate and Banstead have obesity levels which are nearly 2% higher than the Surrey average. As well as its importance for physical development, playing outdoors also helps to build language and communication skills, which in turn promote social and emotional development.
Play equipment includes outside chimes, drum panels, a Mud Kitchen, Fairy Dinosaur Land, two ‘make your own den’ areas and a 2 metre x 2 metre sandpit. Using recycled materials, including tyres, logs, planks of wood and old CDs, helped to keep costs down, with much of the construction work done by volunteers, including young people on the National Citizenship Scheme and a team from Employability.
In addition to the hugely appreciated individual and anonymous donations, our grateful thanks go to the following funders, without whom this garden project could not have happened:
Raven Housing Trust’s Brighter Communities Scheme
Councillor Jonathan Essex from his Members’ Allocation Fund
A huge thank you to everyone who has given time and effort to turning this dream into reality.