Garden joy for Drove Road


Young people at Drove Road residential and short breaks centre can now enjoy the use of play and sensory garden equipment, thanks to funds raised at Brighton’s annual Midsummer Charity Ball.

The event, which was hosted by the team at the Hilton Brighton Metropole hotel last month (Saturday 18 June), supported both Rockinghorse and the DM Thomas Foundation for Young People. The two charities joined forces for the outdoor project at Drove Road in Portslade, funding equipment to enhance a sensory garden experience for the young people to enjoy.

Drove Road residential and short breaks centre provides accommodation for young people between the ages of 8 and 18, all of whom have differing levels of learning disabilities and challenging behaviour. Funds provided by Rockinghorse and the DM Thomas Foundation for Young People, have enabled the centre to replace the dated garden equipment with functional, physical and sensory play equipment. These items have provided the young people with an outdoor space for them to explore and disperse their energy in a safe way, whilst also encouraging interaction with their peers and staff.

Staff from both charities were joined by representatives from the Hilton Brighton Metropole hotel and ball supporters, the E3 Group, for a visit to Drove Road to see the garden earlier this month (pictured above). They met with the team to learn how the equipment is helping young people at the respite centre, and also enjoyed a tour and talk by Practice Manager Vikki Witham.

Expressing her joy for the project, Vikki said: “Thank you so much for giving us the money for this amazing garden play equipment – all the young people and staff love it. One of our young people even commented that there’s now a park at Drove Road! It has made such a difference socially and physically for the young people. We worked closely with play equipment company Kompan to ensure that all the young people’s sensory needs would be met when planning the equipment, taking into account that it will be used for hanging, swinging, climbing, spinning, and would need to be weather proof.

“Since the equipment has been in use, staff have seen an increase in how many young people play in the garden at the same time, as they can now all play on a different piece of equipment without being too close to each other. Having this equipment means that our young people can access fun and physical play in a safe and quiet environment, at any time during the day.”

Simon Sheehan, Director of the DM Thomas Foundation for Young People, said: “Hearing about the challenges that these young people and the staff that look after them face, bought home just how important the playground will be for Drove Road. We’re so grateful to everyone who supported the Ball and enabled us to make this grant.”

Ryan Heal, Chief Executive of Rockinghorse, added: “Funding this much-needed project at Drove Road will help provide the best possible experience for young people at the centre. We are so pleased to be able to make a real difference thanks to the support and generosity of the local community.”

Take a look at all the pictures from the project launch, by clicking here.

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