Barnsley couple's plea for help to complete sensory garden for children with disabilities

  • Video report by Adam Fowler

A couple from Barnsley who are building a sensory garden for children with additional needs are appealing for volunteers to come forward and help.

Paul and Michael Atwal-Brice want to turn a disused allotment in Barnsley into an area for children with conditions like autism and epilepsy.

Their sons Levi and Lucas need extra support and the couple are now redeveloping land at Togo Street for them and others to enjoy.

Michael Atwal Brice said: "We've had donations of trees, fruit trees, all around the site. We're currently doing our raised beds so we're doing five different beds for the five different senses. We want the community to get involved."

Raised flowers beds have been built in the garden

Izzy Naylor is one of the volunteers lending a helping hand at the site. She said: "It's a free work out. It's time out in the sun, meeting lovely people.

"At the end of the day, it's an amazing, amazing cause but we really need more people to come down."

The site has come a long way since the couple first started the project but there is still a lot that needs to be done.

Michael said clearing the site has been "back breaking" after they moved 20 tonnes of fly-tipped rubbish and planted more than 100 trees.

He added: "We just want more volunteers and helpers down here and also need more funding and grants if we can."

Michael, Izzy and Paul at the allotment

The National Autistic Society School which is based nearby will be a key holder for the sensory garden but as well as benefiting children, the site will also be available for adults with additional needs.

Paul Atwal-Brice said: "I think for us the passion for this is, as a lot of your viewers know, we have children with disabilities and complex needs. And across the country there are so many families like ours where they need to be able to go outdoors and have fun.

"We're just going to make this such a great safe environment for children and young people to come and and be themselves and to be happy. That's what it's all about."

20 tonnes of fly-tipping had to be removed to clear the site

The next stage of development is to make the plot more accessible by building a path for wheelchair users or those people who are unsteady on their feet.

Paul added: "We are finding it really difficult to find those companies. So if there are any companies out there who can help, please do reach out, because we really need that help so much."

The couple hope to have completed the sensory garden by summer.

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