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Project information

Breathing Space

Creation of a safe, educational and calming growing space during and after horticulture & cooking sessions. We grow fruit & vegetables with plans for a 'cookhouse' for young people with special educational needs and learning differences that would greatly benefit from a sensory kitchen garden.

December 2017 - May 2018

Charity information: Green Corridor

Green Corridor logo
  • Need


    Less than 6% of people with special educational needs (SEN) and learning differences are in employment in the UK. Our charity works with young people aged 16 – 24 with identified SEN and a limited number on Education Health & Care Plans. Our success rate is 24% in terms of onward employment yet we know we can help even more young people with identified SEN into work by expanding our food growing on-site to also include learning how to cook in order to access local job opportunities in catering.


    Our approach to learning is person centred and delivered at a pace that suits our individual young people who struggle with autism, ADHD and other additional learning needs. Before, during or after growing & cooking sessions, ready access to a thoughtful and creatively designed sensory kitchen garden will help restore attention, aid recovery from mental fatigue and enhance mental focus. Such a space will support management of their symptoms and improve both learning and employment outcomes.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Improve self confidence by direct involvement in design and build of a new sensory kitchen garden.


    » Young people to be at the heart of design workshops to address issues of access, layout, shade, materials, signage, quiet spaces, planting etc.
    » Weave suitable build elements into existing horticulture learning e.g. 10 hours per learner in planting, path construction, raised beds & green walls

    What success will look like

    As licensed users of the 'outcome star' we will quantify the distance each young person has travelled in terms of self confidence and photos will evidence their direct involvement

    Aim 2

    Young people to regularly use the garden to reduce stress and overcome sensory issues


    » Ensure growing & cooking lessons allow sufficient chillout time e.g. 20 minutes per learner every morning and afternoon for access to sensory garden.
    » Encourage individuals, or pairs of learners, to access the sensory garden daily to pick plants to aid familiarity with different textures and scents.

    What success will look like

    We will record time spent in sensory garden and capture qualitative feedback from horticulture & catering tutors on stress levels and performance i.e. attentiveness, memory recall

    Aim 3

    Involve young people in long term maintenance of sensory garden to enhance knowledge and skills.


    » Ensure that vegetable, fruit and herb planting and growing skills in sensory garden embedded in growing & cooking courses 2 hours per learner per week
    » Learners to plant and maintain a pot, window box, hanging basket, planter at home and within their wider community to share skills with others.

    What success will look like

    Enhanced knowledge will be evidenced by means of regular entries into individual learner portfolios and by weekly sensory garden multiple choice quiz scores regarding maintenance.

  • Impact


    We aim to embed new methods of learning for our young people to better understand effective calming and relaxation coping strategies e.g. grounding, distraction, breathing techniques and meditation.

    The critical long term change is in helping our young people to move into sustained employment either within horticulture & gardening or hospitality & catering. This sensory garden will enable our learners to better achieve their accredited qualifications and aid personal & social development.


    The principal risk is that we collectively design and build a space that fails to connect with the restorative benefits of a sensory garden thereby preventing our young people from having a meaningful and impactful outdoor experience. We will mitigate this risk by undertaking a pre visit with young people to successful community therapy gardens in the local area. We will seek information, advice and guidance from the RHS and THRIVE who work with young people and adults with special needs.


    Donors will receive monthly updates via email and we will utilise our social media outlets to evidence progress and invite volunteer involvement and attendance at celebration events. A formal post project evaluation report will be made available to pledge & champion funders and on our website.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £9,760

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £960 Soil 10 tonnes for raised beds
      £900 Contractor 30 hours site clearance
      £1,000 Raised beds Build & Install of 10 large raised wooden beds from recycled materials
      £2,100 Pathworks Laying of 65m various types of patchworks @ £35 running metre
      £1,000 Benches Creation and instal of 4 handmade benches / seats from various recycled materials
      £1,500 Green wall Build, install and planting of 25m2 vertical growing space
      £300 Fencing 60m rabbit proof fencing
      £2,000 Sensory furniture Chimes, tactile panel, totem, sail etc.
  • Background


    We are located on a 2.5 acre site in the peri-urban fringe adjacent to Heathrow Airport. This area has suffered historically from being held for hope value for future airport expansion which has led to dereliction, vandalism and illegal trespass. We now have a 5-year lease and have transformed the site into a thriving, well maintained & protected growing space for use by our beneficiaries. Our site is now part of a major airport wide honeybee awareness bio-diversity programme.


    We have been donated a minibus that allows us to pick up project beneficiaries from the underground station at Terminal 5 enabling us to serve a wide community of need in West London and surrounding counties. Our beneficiaries are young people aged 14-25 with special educational needs and we also have projects on site that benefit local community groups drawn from deprived wards across a number of Local Authorities. We also play host to many & varied employee volunteer projects.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Over the past 5 years we have trained and supported over 150 disadvantaged and disaffected young people in land based qualifications. We are passionate about helping to unlock the potential inside our young people that they, and others often don't recognise. This is due to their learning disabilities, chaotic home lives, cultural expectations, stereotyping or stifled ambition. We continue to succeed in supporting young people through onward progression into education, training and employment.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Mark Cox

    Our Senior Horticulture Tutor will act as Project Manager ensuring the project is competed on time, to budget and to the required quality standards.

    Joanne Dixon

    Our youth mentor will ensure young people are fully involved and learning is done at their own pace and that their ideas are listened to & acted upon


£100 will pay for a 1m3 of high quality soil used for our sensory planting.

Please help us transform this neglected space into a tranquil sensory garden to help our young people with special educational needs to reduce their stress levels, enhance their attentiveness and learning outcomes.

Tim Knight