History of the Rainbow Centre – The Play Away WILD Garden

At the front of the Bradbury Building, there was an overgrown garden that not only looked unsightly but was inaccessible.

Several suggestions were discussed internally and it was decided that funding needed to be sought to help the Rainbow Centre develop this area.
Having only recently moved into a new purpose-built centre, we wanted to be able to use this project to encourage greater community involvement, provide volunteering opportunities, whilst also raising awareness of conservation issues that fitted with our own recycling schemes.

Following the grant given by The Big Lottery (Breathing Places) of £9,905 we commenced a Community Consultation phase.

Local organisations, companies and charities were invited to a community consultation open day. Some significant mutually beneficial relationships were established and following the input received after the Open Day, plans were revised to incorporate feedback received in order to ensure that the WILD garden would be fully inclusive and accessible to people with motor disabilities of all ages, from outside of the organisation as well as within.

“This garden will encourage wildlife to The Rainbow Centre, provide an opportunity for the children and adults with disabilities, (who attend the centre) to see wildlife in a natural habitat and raise awareness of a ‘garden philosophy’ to wildlife conservation. Play Away WILD will also encourage greater community involvement, volunteering and help to enhance the delivery of our Conductive Education services.” Helen Somerset How – Appeal Director and Co-Founder.

The Play Away Wild Garden was opened on Thursday 20 September 2007, by the Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire, Dame Mary Fagan J.P. at the same time as she opened the Garden of Rainbows .

Next – Helen Somerset How M.B.E.