SENSE­LESS

Sen­sory gar­den for autis­tic kids is trashed

Rutherglen Reformer - - Front Page - Marc McLean

Com­mu­nity work­ers have been left dev­as­tated af­ter mind­less yobs trashed a sen­sory gar­den for chil­dren with autism – just weeks af­ter it opened.

Staff at Reach La­nark­shire Autism in Cam­bus­lang had spent many months and con­sid­er­able ef­fort se­cur­ing fund­ing for the gar­den, and count­less hours work­ing along­side vol­un­teers to bring it to fruition.

Young­sters with autism also con­trib­uted to the project by help­ing to sculpt the gar­den and make play equip­ment. The gar­den was of­fi­cially opened at the Reach La­nark­shire Autism build­ing in Au­gust, but work­ers were gut­ted on Fri­day morn­ing when they dis­cov­ered it had been wrecked.

Ellen Fe­er­ick, a neigh­bour­hood de­vel­op­ment and ac­tiv­ity co­or­di­na­tor with Reach, and col­league He­len Roberts had launched the sen­sory gar­den project to give kids with autism a safe, com­fort­able place to play.

She said: “I’m dis­gusted at what’s hap­pened. My­self and He­len are gut­ted be­cause this was our project and so much work was put into it from other peo­ple too.”

Autism work­ers have been left gut­ted af­ter mind­less yobs trashed a sen­sory gar­den for chil­dren.

Staff at Reach La­nark­shire Autism in Cam­bus­lang had spent five months se­cur­ing fund­ing for the gar­den and count­less hours work­ing along­side vol­un­teers to bring it to fruition.

Young­sters with autism also helped cre­ate the sen­sory gar­den and spent time mak­ing play equip­ment.

The gar­den was of­fi­cially opened at the Reach La­nark­shire Autism build­ing in Au­gust, but work­ers were gut­ted on Fri­day morn­ing when they dis­cov­ered it had been wrecked.

Ellen Fe­er­ick, a neigh­bour­hood de­vel­op­ment and ac­tiv­ity co-or­di­na­tor with Reach, and col­league He­len Roberts had launched the sen­sory gar­den project to give kids with autism a safe, com­fort­able place to play.

She said: “I’m dis­gusted at what’s hap­pened. My­self and He­len are gut­ted be­cause this was our project and so much work was put in from other peo­ple too.

“A lot of vol­un­teers helped out and we re­ceived many do­na­tions. The kids helped us make stuff for the gar­den and we were re­ally pleased with how it all turned out.

“The project be­gan in March this year and we of­fi­cially opened the gar­den at a fam­ily fun day on Au­gust 11.

“It was a space that wasn’t used be­fore .

The gar­den is si­t­u­ated in Belmont Drive be­tween the Reach re­source cen­tre and Whit­law­burn Hous­ing As­so­ci­a­tion of­fices.

It in­cluded raised beds for plant­ing ve­g­at­a­bles and herbs, a doll’s house, fun trails, step­ping stones, out­door black­board, var­i­ous or­na­ments, wind chimes, and more.

Of the many items the young­sters en­joyed, most were ei­ther smashed up or stolen.

Ellen told the Re­former: “Dur­ing the sum­mer hol­i­days we were us­ing the gar­den twice weekly and it also brought par­ents with kids from out­with the area.

“It was a safe space for kids and it gave par­ents a fa­cil­ity their chil­dren could use with­out them hav­ing to worry. Some­times it was dif­fi­cult for them to take their kids to a nor­mal park.

“I don’t know why any­one would want to do this, but we had a prob­lem be­fore­hand too.

“There were orig­i­nally 10 tyres in the gar­den and they were stolen grad­u­ally. We’ve now been left with three.

“Those tyres are no use to any­one be­cause they were old and do­nated to us by a garage.”

A Ruther­glen po­lice of­fice spokesman con­firmed that they are in­ves­ti­gat­ing the van­dal­ism.

He added: “En­quiries are on­go­ing and we would ap­peal to any mem­bers of the pub­lic with in­for­ma­tion on this in­ci­dent to come for­ward.”

I don’t know why any­one would want to do this, but we had a prob­lem be­fore Ellen Fe­er­ick

Bro­ken-hearted Reach La­nark­shire Autism chair Kirsten Al­lan, work­ers He­len Roberts and Ellen Fe­er­ick, in the wrecked gar­den with Ria Dug­gan, aged three, and one-year-old Hailey Al­lan, who both have sib­lings with autism

Stunned Staff and young­sters sur­vey the dam­age

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