It’s arrived. After weeks of fundraising, a complete strip down and modernization of our entire downstairs bathroom, there in the center of our fresh light new space is the ruby in the crown. One big white brand new bathtub is in at Cherry Trees.

At £8,000 it’s a really special piece of kit. With height adjustable sides, making it much easier for the user to get in and out of, light show, the ability to play music and an inbuilt Jacuzzi, this is state of the art, a real wow piece which you’d be pushed to find in any five star presidential hotel suite.

At this point you may stop and ask what bath warrants £8,000? Couldn’t a standard tub from any self-respecting retail park have done it? A rudimentary part of modern life, incidental to most.

Whilst the experience of either a quick dip or the lengthier ‘good-long-soak’ is something many of us enjoy without a second thought, the bubbles, steam and aromas, can sadly be out of reach for some of the young people with disabilities that come to Cherry Trees. It may not sound a lot, but the opportunity to let a young person enjoy a really good bath at Cherry Trees is something many of our families greatly appreciate for lots of reasons.

The simple task of getting a young person with disabilities into the bath, washed, out of it and dressed again can be for some households nigh-impossible, time consuming and hard work. A common theme we hear from our families is the issue of the location of most baths in modern households (upstairs) and then the physical task of lifting a 12, 14,16 year old – in fact any adolescent in and out of the bath is hard work, uncomfortable for both parties and unsustainable. If our families only have a shower room, or don’t own a hoist, with reduced local authority grants to make home adaptations the experience of having a bath is literally off limits if one isn’t either there or accessible.

One mum explained having an actual bath is a rare experience for her daughter, now 18 who has Quadriplegia and Cerebral Palsy. Mum and daughter have to find quicker ‘easier’ ways to wash. “At home it’s a question of lifting – the mobile hoist we have is really heavy….it’s really hard to find the time for long baths around everything else I have to do for her as her main carer: constant supervision, feeding, watering, dressing, housework, paperwork ….” the phone goes quiet at the other end but her voice picks up again when she goes onto explain why the bathing facilities at Cherry Trees make a big difference. “I know she has had a really good bath there with her hair washed at the same time, being in the water, enjoying floating. The Carers aren’t rushed and there’s a bit more time for them to help with bathing, letting her play and spend time in the sensory surroundings she is most happy in. She even requests a bath using her communication computer.” Freed from the confines of her wheelchair, a bath is place of liberation.

For our carers the new bath has inevitably made life easier for them, also benefitting from no leaning over or bending. Working at equal height – the carer and the sitter, bath time becomes an easier more natural and relaxed experience for both. With families often telling us they want to see their child become as independent as possible, striving for normality in daily home tasks, with their agreement, self-care plans for each child are created. Self-independence in grooming and washing is a popular ask and one we spend time with every youngster on developing.

Our new super-dooper bath is the centre piece of our overall bathroom renovation project costing £164,000 for a new bathroom, separate shower room and locker area (all wheel chair accessible). Our thanks go to the numerous grants and trusts who provided funding for a modern, accessible and comfortable space to be enjoyed by children visiting for overnight respite breaks here at Cherry Trees.

Deputy Manager Jon Webb with the bath, with height adjustable sides, light show and so much more. 


Cherry Trees bathroom renovation project couldn't have happened without the financial support of the following Trusts, Foundations and grant giving organisations: 

Lockwood F, Legacy, The Kelsey Trust, David Williams Trust, Affinity Water, Garfield Weston, Aberdeen Standard, Screwfix, Toyota, Martin Grant Homes, Gatwick Airport Community Trust, DM Thomas Foundation, The Beatrice Laing Trust, Aberdeen Standard Investments, The Bernard Sunley Foundation, Community Foundation For Surrey, The Story of Christmas. 

A huge thanks to everyone of them and also the sterling efforts of Cherry Trees Trust Manager Sarah Pritchard for working with all of the above to secure funding.