Fintan Houston cuts the ribbon at the opening of the revamped garden at HSE Ballaghderg Special Needs Preschool. Photo: Clive Wasson
There was a great sense of celebration today, Wednesday November 9th, at the re-opening of the renovated sensory garden at the HSE Ballaghderg special needs preschool.
The preschool provides a service for children with moderate to severe intellectual disabilities and complex care needs in the Letterkenny area. The service strives to provide a holistic and therapeutic environment for the children in partnership with families and the early intervention team where each child learns to develop and grow through play in a specialised setting.
Over the past five months, Fintan Houston volunteered to lead the project to revamp the sensory garden with the help of local volunteers and sponsorship from local businesses. The garden was reopened by Fintan today and all those involved including families and friends were invited to celebrate this special occasion.
Speaking at opening, Ms Catherine Kelly, HSE Clinical Nurse Manager at Ballaghderg, stated “The HSE intellectual disability services would like to take this opportunity to thank Fintan Houston and all the volunteers who kindly gave up their free time to redecorate and clean up the garden area. We would also like to express our gratitude for all donations received from local sponsors, which funded the cost of visual images, new plants, an all-weather proof wheelchair accessible swing and to the St. Conal’s Garden Centre team who designed a bird man that attracts birds into the garden area. The sensory garden has many benefits for the preschool children, from stimulating their senses to providing a safe and calming place where they can learn about their environment and have endless hours of fun and enjoyment.
Commenting on the new and improved garden, Mr Eugene McElroy, HSE Donegal Intellectual Disabilities Business Manager, said “The garden is an important element of service provision and the works carried out on the garden will enhance the experience of children attending the preschool.”