A new sensory garden for East Lancashire children with severe learning difficulties and disabilities has been officially opened in Burnley.
The ribbon at the garden in The Rainbow Centre at Burnley General Hospital was cut by Prof. Eileen Fairhurst, chairman of East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, at a celebratory garden party for 130 invited guests.
Visitors to the event included children and families who use the service as well as current and former staff and volunteers.
Burnley MP Mr Gordon Birtwistle, who helped raise funds to build the centre, situated above the urgent care centre, also attended the celebration.
The Rainbow Centre provides outpatient consultation, day therapy facilities including physiotherapy and specialist sensory rooms and brings together services previously provided at Reedley Hall Child Development Centre and the therapy unit, Rainbows, previously situated at the Holden Centre in Barrowford.
The new outside play and therapy area will be used by the children to promote and encourage outside play and physical activities.
Facilities in the sensory garden include a Wendy house, benches painted in the colours of the rainbow, wind tunnels and spirals, animal-shaped mirrors, musical pipes, a bridge, flower bed, herb garden and sheltered canopy area for sunny days and a centrepiece of stones painted by Clitheroe-based artist, Alistair Price.
Emily Heaton (21), from Colne, whose 20-month old son Anthony Jack attends the Rainbow Centre for physiotherapy treatment, said: “Anthony Jack loves coming here and I’m having trouble keeping up with him as he’s been busy exploring the fabulous sensory garden.”
Prof. Fairhurst said: “It is incredible to think that it only took 12 months for the design and build of this new unit to be completed and I extend my thanks to all involved. We can now all enjoy the benefits which merging two previously separate units has delivered for the local children and their families who receive support and treatment here and the dedicated team of staff who deliver that care.”
Dr Sheran Perera, consultant paediatrician, added: “The Rainbow Centre is a very positive investment in neurodevelopmental paediatric services, providing a great opportunity to further improve provision on the Burnley site for our children and community.”