Essex Community Foundation

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Day centre opens new all-access garden

30th June 2017

An arts and craft day centre for people with severe physical disabilities has opened a new garden which is accessible to all of its members.

The new green space at Ferriers Barn has been specially designed to suit all of the centre’s 19 members, including wheelchair users, by means of wide paths and raised flower beds. It replaces a small vegetable patch which was inaccessible to most.

The Barn opened in 1974 and has allowed its members to develop friendships and provides respite for their families and carers, some of whom would not be able to work even part-time without it.

This revamp, which also includes a sensory sandpit, was made possible by a grant of £17,463 from the independent charitable trust Essex Community Foundation (ECF). The grant monies were pooled from the Mi Community Fund, Sport Relief Community Cash and the Diana Tinson Fund.

Jill Kerr-Smiley, a Trustee of Ferriers Barn, explained the difference the garden has made, “A lot of our work at the Barn is centred on teaching and encouraging our members to do things for themselves. Having this uniquely equipped garden which everyone can enjoy together is really special and gardening is another new skill to learn”.

She added, “There are a number of therapeutic benefits to having a quiet space in the open air so we encourage families and carers to join members in the garden”.

Ferriers Barn is open Monday to Friday and has spaces available for new members. For more information, visit

For more information about ECF or to apply for funding, call the grants team on 01245 356018.