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Local business gives disabled children exciting outdoor cooking experience at Grace House North East

11 July 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 week from staff at Simon Berry Optometrist in Durham.

A team of 4 staff from Simon Berry Optometrist and local children from Southwick primary school worked hard at Grace House with Chris Bax from Taste the Wild. Along with other gardening volunteers, the team worked together to construct an earth oven within the substantial grounds at Grace House.  The idea came about after Simon Berry attended a course with Taste the Wild and experienced the satisfaction of building an earth oven and being amazed at the range of food that can be cooked in it.  Later in the day, local children from Southwick Primary school came to help put the finishing touches to the oven.

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 add cooking in an earth oven to the range of experiences we can offer to children at Grace House. Not only will the children learn how different foods are prepared and cooked, they will be able to enjoy a campfire experience in a safe environment. The sensory stimulation of the sight of the flames, the smell of the wood smoke and cooking outdoors might be new to many children.”

Simon Berry, Optometrist said “It’s great to be able to help a really worthwhile charity, and fantastic to see Southwick Primary School getting involved to help disabled children in their community. Hopefully we’ll get invited back to taste the first home-made pizzas from their very own earth oven.”

Chris Bax, Taste the Wild said “It was a privilege to spend a day working in the garden, bringing our skills and expertise and getting 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.”

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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