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Investing in a community gardening project at Grace House North East

23 March 2016

A Sunderland charity that provides care to children from all over the North East with complex disabilities, health needs and life limiting conditions has received support this month from staff at Berghaus - the UK's leading outdoor brand.

A team of eight Berghaus staff members worked hard all day at Grace House to overhaul the Sensory Garden and fruit and vegetable patch after a long winter at the purpose built facility had left them looking far from their best. The partnership with Berghaus went a step further, as the team donated a range of the company’s waterproof jackets and trousers to Grace House to be used by their regular Community Garden volunteers.

The charity, which is based in Southwick, Sunderland, offers short-break care to severely disabled children aged 5-18.  Run in partnership with Sunderland Care and Support, Grace House provides a home from home where children and young people can come and stay overnight and enjoy the exciting  ‘sleep-over’ experience that many disabled children miss out on.  This gives family members an opportunity to have a rest and recharge their batteries, safe in the knowledge that their disabled child is safe, happy and well looked after.

Dr. Karen Parry, chief executive at Grace House North East, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to welcome staff from Berghaus. They have transformed the gardens here and to be given such top quality gear for our regular garden volunteers to wear is fantastic.”

Helen Curran, Marketing Development Manager for Berghaus said “It was a privilege to spend a day helping out in the garden and get an insight into the fantastic work that Grace House North East does.  It was clear just how important the grounds are to the disabled children who come and stay there.  The dedicated local people who volunteer regularly in the garden deserve to be warm and dry as they carry out their vital role and Berghaus is very pleased to help out on that front too.”

The Community Garden volunteer project was made possible by the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland. A grant from the Riddell Family Community First Fund enabled Grace House to employ a garden co-ordinator, invest in gardening tools and plants, and recruit members of the local community to volunteer regularly to ensure that the gardens at Grace House bring enjoyment and stimulation to the disabled children that come to stay.

Su Legg, Senior Philanthropy Advisor at the Community Foundation said
“A grant of £8,218 was awarded from the Riddell Family Community First Fund at the Community Foundation to create a garden around Grace House.  This development offers a fantastic opportunity for local people to engage in gardening activities which has health, social and learning benefits, but even more so, it offers the chance to give back and support young people from across the North East, with complex disabilities, health needs and life limiting conditions."

Grace House are still seeking keen local gardeners to join the community garden project, and anyone who is interested in volunteering should email or ring 01915252885


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