A charity in Surrey which provides respite care for children with severe learning, physical and sensory disabilities has been awarded £4,000 from the CLA Charitable Trust (CLACT) to help with its garden renovation project.
The Trust is funded almost entirely by subscriptions and donations from members of the CLA, an organisation which represents nearly 30,000 farmers, landowners and rural businesses.
It provides grants to charities and community organisations across England and Wales who share its vision to help connect young people who are disabled or disadvantaged with the countryside and nature.
Cherry Trees, based in East Clandon near Guildford, is among the groups to successfully apply for funding in the most recent round of awards. For 40 years it has provided 'home from home' short break/respite care for children and young people who require specialist care often 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and has been operating through the pandemic.
It is a lifeline for more than 100 families in Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire and helps children build friendships, have fun, experience new activities and support them to be as independent as possible, while allowing parents to catch their breath, re-energise and spend time with other siblings.
The charity is currently fundraising to overhaul its garden, which hasn’t benefitted from significant work for 15 years. Access is crucial and therefore the surface, gradients and widths of pathways are being designed to be wheelchair-friendly, with different zones to stimulate the senses while also alleviating sensory overload.
It plans to build the garden in three phases, featuring raised beds that will engage children in gardening activities and growing fruit and vegetables; a water sculpture and sensory panels; dens and brightly coloured, accessible robust play equipment that all of the children can use; a rubber crumb path connecting the different areas of the garden in one long sensory trail; a quieter zone; and a sheltered activity area which could host entertainers such as magicians or clowns. The total project cost is £78,000, with nearly half raised to date, and work is due to being next week.
Trust Manager Sarah Pritchard said the charity was “overwhelmed by the generosity” of CLACT.
She said: “We are delighted that the CLA Charitable Trust has generously donated £4,000 towards our sensory garden and play equipment project.
“Our current garden has not benefitted from any significant work or renovation for the past 15 years and with up to 14 children a day visiting Cherry Trees and spending a substantial amount of time using the outdoor facilities, it is in dire need of a complete overhaul.
“We are all extremely excited about this project. From all the children, their families and staff at Cherry Trees, thank you so much to the CLA Charitable Trust. As a small charity, your donation has a big impact.”
Bridget Biddell, Chairman of CLACT, said: “We are delighted to be able to help Cherry Trees in creating a new garden for their children.
“In particular we’re pleased to help with the creation of raised beds which will give the children the opportunities to learn and enjoy growing fruit and veg, and in turn enable the produce to be used in their cookery club.
“These are exciting developments for an amazing charity.”
More about CLACT and Cherry Trees
Since its foundation in 1980, the trust has given £2m in grants to a wide variety of organisations and projects. If you would like to know more about applying for funding, or to donate, visit https://www.cla.org.uk/about-cla/charitable-trust/
For more information about Cherry Trees, including how to help or donate to its garden project, visit https://www.cherrytrees.org.uk/
Who else has benefited recently?
Other South East groups which have recently benefitted from CLACT grants include Daisies Kids Club based in London, which has been awarded £1,800 to help run day trips taking children to a farm; and We Are Grow also in the capital, which has been given £5,000 to part-fund an educational assistant.