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Volunteers brave big freeze to transform garden for youngster

A garden can be paradise for someone looking for some escape and no one needed this more than special needs child Andrew.

At just seven-years-old Andrew requires full time care and loves to spend his time in the sunshine with his family.

However the family garden was in a depressing state covered in overgrown weeds and mess.

Read more:Tower Ballroom to be demolished at Edgbaston Reservoir with plans for ‘much-needed family housing’

WellChild’s Kieran Cullen and mum Hayley Smith

That’s where charity WellChild and volunteers stepped in, arming themselves with shovels and wheelbarrows to breathe new life into the outdoor space.

In just two days last week the garden was transformed into a Garden of Eden despite Storm Arwen bringing freezing conditions for the workers.

At first Andrew, from Castle Bromwich, could only access the small patio area of the garden, but now the space is polished and pruned with massive space to move about.

Volunteers brave big freeze to transform garden for youngster
Seven-year-old Andrew Smith’s garden before the transformation

WellChild charity support seriously ill children and their families, their key work includes transformation projects of bedrooms and gardens.

According to their stats more than 100,000 children and young people are living across the UK with serious health needs.

Andrew needs around the clock care having cerebral palsy, global development delay and epilepsy.

Volunteers brave big freeze to transform garden for youngster
Andrew enjoying his new garden

He is also unable to talk and is a full-time wheelchair user being looked after by mother and father Hayley and Scott Smith. He has three other siblings, including two older brothers who also have complex needs.

BrumWish 2021 aims to get thousands of Christmas gifts to young children in need across our city – the homeless, the vulnerable, kids in care and kids who have little.

This year’s appeal is bigger and better than ever – because we have teamed up with our partners at #Toys4Birmingham, including Thrive Together Birmingham, the Birmingham Playcare Network, the Edgbaston Foundation and Birmingham Forward Steps.

Also involved are Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust, Barnardo’s, Spurgeon’s children’s charity, the Springfield project in Sparkhill, St Paul’s Community Development Trust and Your Local Pantry, which runs food hubs in 12 locations across Birmingham and the Black Country.

You can buy a gift from the #Brumwish Amazon Wishlist here.

Or you can collect and drop off donations of new and nearly new toys and gifts to special donation days at Edgbaston Stadium, B5 7QU, on Saturday November 27, Friday December 3 and Saturday December 4, from 11am to 3pm, where volunteers will be waiting to see you.

Brand new or nearly new, unwrapped gifts, books and toys for all ages will be accepted.

You can also donate cash, which will go into a fund held by a charity partner to use to plug gaps or buy specialist toys for children with additional needs. This is the link to make a donation.

WellChild and over 20 dedicated volunteers from St James’s Place worked hard in freezing temperatures on the project. Changes include a secure and level area extending off a ramp that has been fitted.

Decking and artificial grass allowing Andrew access in his wheelchair and a great surface for a family hot tub.

Volunteers brave big freeze to transform garden for youngster

Colourful red and blue light panels also gave a sensory element to the garden for Andrew.

Video showed Andrew in his pushchair in front of the new bold sensory lights. According to a volunteer the garden will come to life in Summer 2022 where the family can fully appreciate the greenery.

Kieran Cullen of WellChild, on the final day of work said: “As you can imagine the amount of digging they’ve had to do to get the garden in the state its in now within two days is phenomenal.

Volunteers brave big freeze to transform garden for youngster
The new deck built into the garden

“As you can see behind me its absolutely poured down for the last 20 odd hours, its been a hard day but the results make it worth it.”

Check out WellChild’s website for more information on their inspirational work.

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