At our Centre, we are in the throes of transforming our currently unusable outdoor area into a safe sensory space that can be used by any young person whatever their needs.
Many of the young people who attend Dreadnought have an additional need or disability and/or have experienced significant trauma in their lives. Current research shows how important it is for young people to be in nature for their mental well-being. For young people who have experienced trauma in their lives being in Nature can significantly reduce their stress and help them to calm; watching a fountain or wind spinner can have a calming effect on the mind and body.
When undertaking engagement with the young people who are our current service users, they came up with many creative ideas for the space. The important aspects they felt were, having a chill-out space and movement. They also wanted plants that they could eat and cook with, as well as those that feel and smell nice. They wanted to attract wildlife such as bugs, butterflies and birds, unfortunately, we are unable to accommodate a pond and a pet!
Having an outside space will give young people an extra area that they can call their own and be responsible for. They will be choosing and planting the flowers, fruit and vegetables that they grow, through to using them in the cooking that they do. This will enable young people to learn about healthy eating and food from ‘field to plate’.
Wherever possible we aim to make resources, with young people, from second-hand materials. For example, planters made of old pallets (donations gratefully received!). The safety surface of Rubber bound bark will be made of recycled tyres saving them from landfill and in natural colours to give a sense of being in nature.
Being able to create the outside space will enable us to provide an enhanced service for the young people who are referred to The Dreadnought Centre. We will be able to provide a safe outdoor space where young people can experience and receive the well-being benefits of being in nature and in these unprecedented times, we will be creating a space that once back to face to face working, will enable safe social distancing, in the fresh air.
We will be sharing the progress of the sensory garden on this webpage so watch this space!