On Thursday 17 November, Cherry Trees welcomed a selection of supporters and volunteers, including The Worshipful the Mayor of Guildford Councillor Dennis Booth and HM Lord Lieutenant Michael More-Molyneux to officially open their new Sensory Garden.

Cherry Trees provides home from home care for children with complex disabilities and a meaningful break for their families. Last year, Cherry Trees provided this lifeline to 75 families across Surrey.

The garden is an important part of this support. It offers a safe space for the children and young adults to explore the sights, sounds, colours and smells of the world. This became even more vital during the pandemic as our outdoor space become our only connection to one another. Our old garden had become tired and worn and wasn’t practical or suitable for many months of the year.

A new garden was needed. The children and their families were consulted and made it clear that they wanted more than just an outside space. They wanted a safe place for those who have no danger awareness, a place to help explore emotions and senses, somewhere where the children could learn to grow food, or how to ride a bike or scooter. They wanted a space for children to be children.

The new garden does all of this and more. Cherry Trees CEO, Claire Bryant, explains

‘Following a huge amount of support and work from so many individuals and organisations, the new sensory garden is now finished. We have to thank all of the kind people who made the project possible: from those who made a donation; to Scott Brownrigg who transformed our ideas into feasible plans; and to Silent Pool Gin for donating their wonderful Silver Gilt award-winning sensory garden. Thank you.

Our children and young adults absolutely love it. It offers a year-round, accessible space out in the fresh air where the toys, colours and smells of the garden can be enjoyed. A place where children, regardless of their disability, can enjoy the outside world with their friends, whilst growing and developing as individuals.  

The garden is also the perfect tribute to our late founder, Dr Helen Foley. She recognised the real need to support families who care for children with complex disabilities and designated so much of her life to provide a lifeline of support for so many.  More than 40 years later, we are proud to still offer this care and support in a warm and friendly home, now with the addition of a beautiful and safe garden.

Thank you to all our staff, families, supporters and volunteers that make Cherry Trees all it is and continues to be.’

As part of the opening, a garden sign was unveiled by the Mayor of Guildford and Lord Lieutenant in tribute to Dr Helen Foley. The sign reads ‘A Garden Where More than Flowers Grow’.