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Fundraising for children and young people's sensory garden

​Young people receiving care from Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) will soon be able to make the most of their outdoor space as part of their therapy.

Staff and young patients at the Dragonfly Unit in Lowestoft organised a special fete on Friday, 1 September to raise money for a sensory garden to be built in one of their two outdoor courtyards.

The event featured a cake sale, wet sponge throwing, crafts and a tombola with prizes donated by local businesses, and was supported by staff, past and present service users and their families.

All of the money raised will be used to develop a sensory garden for service users and their families to enjoy. There are plans for water features, plants, outdoor seating and a sound system to be installed for patients to use as part of their therapy.

Alex Barrett who is an Occupational Therapist at the Dragonfly Unit and has helped organise the event said: “The whole unit has been involved in the lead up to the event and all of our service users are looking forward to the day.

“Our patients have been making bracelets, keyrings and cards to sell on an arts and crafts stall. These craft activities have allowed them to utilise skills they may have not used in a long time and have really surprised themselves with the quality of their work.

“It has been a great focus and a way to meaningfully engage patients who are now very excited that their wares will go on sale to raise money for a facility which they will then benefit from.

“Sensory input is important for managing anxiety and can be stress relieving. Having a facility onsite with specialist equipment would be wonderful and would really make a difference.”

The Dragonfly Unit is a 12-bedded inpatient facility at Carlton Court, Lowestoft offering services to boys and girls with conditions such as depression, anxiety, psychosis and eating disorders, who cannot be supported in the community.

It opened in September 2016 and was developed as a centre of excellence so that NSFT can provide more specialist care closer to home, in turn reducing the number of 12 to 18-year-olds who need to travel out of the area for treatment.

For more information about the services provided by the Dragonfly Unit, visit: