A grant from Postcode Local Trust has allowed us to create both a new sensory garden and an outdoor gym for the benefit of our students.

Postcode Local Trust is a grant-giving trust funded entirely by players of People’s Postcode Lottery. Players are not only in with a chance of winning a cash prize every day, but are also supporting a number of local projects, with 32% of each ticket going to charities and good causes.

Our plan was to enhance their outdoor space for Deaf young people with complex needs with the purchase of sustainable play equipment and garden planters. Both the gym and garden were suggested by our students, many of whom are residential and therefore live at the Academy during term-time. The new spaces have enabled our Deaf young people to enjoy and explore outdoors, creating a fun outdoor gym and a hands-on interactive sensory garden, which can be used both in leisure time and during class time if linked to curricular activities.

The outdoor gym equipment was supplied by The Great Outdoor Gym Company, who design inclusive equipment accessible for children with physical and sensory disabilities and complex needs, and has proven extremely popular with the students. Our in-house physiotherapist and Physical Education Teacher advised on the equipment chosen, including a recumbent bike and hand bike, cross trainer, sit up bench and more – all designed to provide additional support for those with reduced mobility, helping to improve students’ agility and balance as well as fitness and independence.

The garden items were supplied by Kings Garden Centre, Exmouth, who provided us with a generous discount. This allowed for the purchase of some fantastic garden equipment including beautiful trug planters. The garden is especially beneficial for the residential students, who designed, helped to build, and are now looking after the garden, learning new gardening skills and benefitting from the sensory stimulation of the plants chosen, as well as enjoying the outdoors.

A Richard King of Kings said:

“Its always a pleasure to support and help the school as gardening is a fantastic outdoor pleasure which we can all enjoy. Looking forward to helping in the future and wish you all the best on your move to Exmouth” 

Importantly, all of the equipment can be moved and taken when we move to our new site in Exmouth in 2020. This means that while the gym and garden are benefitting current students, they will also continue to benefit Deaf young people for many years to come.

Academy Senior Fundraiser Amanda Strowger said:

‘It’s fantastic that we have been able to provide our students with these facilities thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery. Our current site is a little run down, but the addition of the outdoor gym and sensory garden have helped to create a really fun and educational environment for our young people. Once we make the move to Exmouth the equipment will enhance the bespoke New Academy, and will fit in brilliantly there. Thank you to everyone who plays People’s Postcode Lottery for helping to make this happen for us.’