Inclusive sensory garden comes to the Heathfield Show for the first time

24th May

Chailey Heritage School pupil Elliott with a chicken on Patchwork Farm

Patchwork Farm is coming to the Heathfield show for the first time with its magical multi sensory garden. The Farm is part of Chailey Heritage Foundation, the Sussex charity which provides education, life skills and care to over 200 children and young people with complex disabilities from across the UK.

The Charity has a school which specialises in working with children with very complex neuro-disabilities and high health needs. It has 81 pupils aged three to 19 from 10 Local Authorities across the home counties and London. Its residential arm offers flexible packages to children needing specialist care and therapy. It also runs the Charity’s transition provision for young adults, Chailey Heritage Futures. This group of services provides residential accommodation withsupport and preparation for adulthood for those aged 19 to 25, as well as Futures Life Skills Centre and Hub, that are also open to young adults with disabilities from the community.

In autumn 2016 the Charity launched Chailey Heritage Pathways, offering young people, their families and carers its experience and expertise directly in their home or out in the wider community.

The Foundation shares its site with clinical partners, Chailey Clinical, part of Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust, which provides medical intervention, clinical expertise and a range of therapies on-site for children, young people and young adults.

Opened last summer by HRH The Duchess of Gloucester, Patchwork Farm offers the children and young people at the Charity the opportunity to engage with the animals on a regular basis.  There are some wonderful stories of children with sensory impairments, learning and physical disabilities very clearly fascinated by contact with the animals. These children would not have had the opportunity without the creation of the Patwork Farm.

For example – baby chicks have been hatched in the classrooms ready for taking to the Farm, and the children have had the chance to touch smell and hear these – an amazing experience! Through these activities, they are also developing their ability to accommodate change, explore all of their sensory ability and their awareness of other living creatures. Communication flourishes in this environment. All of the Farm animals have been carefully chosen to meet the needs and stimulate the interest of the children and young people at the Charity – the donkeys, goats, chickens, ducks and pigs all have something different to offer.

Coming to the Heathfield Show

New on Patchwork Farm, and coming to this year’s Heathfield Show, is a sensory garden, to which several local garden centres have kindly donated plants which stimulate the senses.

So if you’re visiting the show why not visit the Patchwork Farm stand, find out about all the wonderful things happening on Patchwork Farm and how you can support it and open all of your senses to raise the funds needed each year to continue to be able to provide this service.