A place to play

A GRATEFUL mother has praised the impact a Wooden Spoon-funded adventure playground at a Hampshire special school has had on her son.

Carly Hooper said that the outdoor exercise area at Farnborough’s Henry Tyndale School, which was made possible thanks to a £25,000 donation from the children’s charity of rugby, has provided 11-year-old Callum with an all-important means of burning off some of his youthful energy.

“For him to be able to exert some energy in a positive way by playing rather than it coming across in a negative way if he was to get frustrated is much better for him,” said Carly about her son, who suffers from hemiplegia – cerebral palsy in one half of his body – as well as autism.

“Without Wooden Spoon this playground wouldn’t be here, so the fact it has had such a positive impact is really important. The more projects that can be funded, the better as it’s enhanced the lives of the children here so much – and will continue to do so!”

The adventure playground was opened by former England Sevens skipper Rachael Burford in 2016, two years after Henry Tyndale approached Wooden Spoon to request assistance in providing a facility suitable for the school’s 135 pupils.

The charity’s subsequent support helped the school to create a fully-accessible playground, complete with a wealth of equipment and safety surfacing.

Henry Tyndale head Rob Thompson explained that the facility has proved to be a hugely popular addition for pupils ranging in age from two-to-19, with those in wheelchairs or with physical disabilities able to make good use of it thanks to its accessible design.

He added: “The adventure playground has been designed with primary children in mind, but a wider range have used it. Our nursery children are out here enjoying it at set times, [and] even some of the teenagers have been on it and loved it.

“Play is important for all children, but for those with special needs it plays a greater role. Ironically, they are less likely to get those opportunities without something specialist like we have here.”

To help Wooden Spoon fund more projects like this, donate here.