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Outdoor play therapy garden funded by the Local Area Fund

Date: 24 August 2022
Author: Jenny Haylock
Title: CEO and Founder of The Purple Elephant Project

The Purple Elephant Project is a local charity based in Twickenham, providing therapeutic services to children and young people experiencing mental health distress.

Using approaches such as play and art therapy, we work to transform lives; enabling children to overcome mental health challenges, trauma and difficult life experiences.

Last year, we were excited to be supported by The Local Area Fund, Richmond, with an award which helped us to transform a previously unused space into a safe and calming therapeutic garden for the provision of outdoor play therapy. Using the funding we were allocated, we installed screening and planting around the area and equipped the space with sand trays, chalk boards, sensory toys, a mud kitchen, outdoor instruments, a cave and a cocoon chair; resources all designed to allow children to express themselves while being surrounded by the feeling of nature.

We have been delighted with how frequently this space has been utilised since opening in September 2021. This is proving to be particularly important for children on the autistic spectrum or those with complex mental health needs who may struggle in indoor settings due to artificial lighting and sensory overload, or those children who do not have access to a garden at home and therefore have less opportunity to benefit from the mental-health advantages associated with time outdoors.

We look forward to using this space to the full as we continue our development as a charity, reaching out to more children and families in need within our community.

Find out more about the Local Area Fund. 

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Updated: 25 August 2022