WellChild lends a Helping Hand to children at The Birches, Coventry

Children with complex health needs from Coventry and Warwickshire will benefit from a brand new garden thanks to WellChild Helping Hands project at The Birches Respite Centre.

By Charlotte Edwards · March 30, 2022

The Birches Children’s Respite Unit supports families with children who have complex physical health needs. They are an overnight respite facility for children and young people aged 0-19. Their aim is for the child or young person to have an enjoyable time away from home, to socialise with peers in a fully accessible environment and promote their independence. A stay at the Birches can continue alongside attending school with most special schools transport collecting children from The Birches. The Birches provides fully trained nurses and carers to look after children and young people.

The centre, part of the Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust, has a large back garden which has been transformed into an accessible, sensory space which can be used by the children and their families.

This exciting project will make a positive impact for many children with complex needs. The garden will be at the heart of the community which is already working hard to support families who are most in need of a helping hand.

Members of WellChild staff travelled from their headquarters in Cheltenham to carry out work on the garden over three days from March 22nd, 23rd and 24th.  During that time they transformed the garden including relaying artificial grass, creating a sensory space within and in front of an existing summer house and creating sensory panels along a fence. The team also installed a wheelchair accessible swing and reworked existing pergolas, installed a new storage shed, a path and a seating area.

WellChild Chief Executive Colin Dyer said: “We are delighted to be working on this fantastic Helping Hands garden project at the Birches and know the users of the centre will have a great time using the finished garden. We carry out Helping Hands projects throughout the year as part of our work to make a real difference for complex needs children and their families all across the UK.”

"We are very excited and appreciative of this gesture from WellChild. This garden project will make such a positive difference to the children, young people, families and staff that access The Birches Respite Unit, enabling all to enjoy a safe outdoor environment with a variety of fun activities, sensory areas and relaxing spaces.”

Carmel Ryan from The Birches

Special thanks to the Openwork Foundation for generously funding the project and making it a reality for all the children and their families to enjoy. Thanks also goes to Ultra Decking for donating decking for the garden and to West Way Nissan for getting our team and our tools to yet another garden transformation!