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Celebrations mark opening of new woodland therapy and reflection area at East Anglia's Children's Hospices Treehouse

PUBLISHED: 18:50 06 June 2016 | UPDATED: 18:50 06 June 2016

Hollie-Mae Parkin cuts the ribbon to open The Dell at the EACH Treehouse watched by her family Beryl Golding (left) Rachel and Adam Parkin.

Hollie-Mae Parkin cuts the ribbon to open The Dell at the EACH Treehouse watched by her family Beryl Golding (left) Rachel and Adam Parkin.

A secluded woodland garden area for therapy and reflection has been opened at the grounds of The Treehouse at East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH).

Hollie-Mae Parkin throws a water balloon to open The Dell at the EACH Treehouse.Hollie-Mae Parkin throws a water balloon to open The Dell at the EACH Treehouse.

The Dell, which means a small valley among trees, was officially opened at the Ipswich-based hospice on Saturday, and comes after families said they sometimes feel unable to express their emotions effectively within the walls of the hospice.

It is a cornered off area in the woodland grounds of The Treehouse and includes a therapy wall. It is thought to be the first space of its kind in a children’s hospice.

The opening was celebrated with a performance by the Haughley Hoofers clog dancing team, a blessing by the hospice Chaplin Alex South and an official ribbon cutting on Saturday.

Laura Stafford Allen, from EACH, said: “The idea is that families can go there and use the area for therapy if they want somewhere to shout and scream or sit there for quiet reflection.”

The opening of The Dell at the EACH Treehouse.The opening of The Dell at the EACH Treehouse.

The Dell was the idea of Jayne Mann, EACH counsellor practitioner, who said: “This project, which took two years to complete, was underpinned by research and theory as well as feedback from families who use EACH services.

“Families suggested that they wanted to express their emotions but didn’t always feel comfortable doing so in the hospice, so we looked at creating a dedicated and private space outside.

“The Dell is in a perfect spot which is safe and sheltered; offering privacy in beautiful natural surroundings which will change with the seasons.

“Another reason why we wanted to create an accessible outdoor space is that many children and young people supported by EACH are unable to enjoy trips to the countryside as the terrain is unsuitable for wheelchairs. In addition, it will be used for enhancing wellbeing and for fun activities.

The Haughley Hoofers Clog Dancers perfom at the opening of The Dell at the EACH Treehouse.The Haughley Hoofers Clog Dancers perfom at the opening of The Dell at the EACH Treehouse.

“We believe that the only limits to the use of this unique space will be our imaginations.”

Funding for the project came from a number of local business, including The Felixstowe United Reformed Church, which donated £1,000, and Lancaster Toyota, which donated £1,950, and helped to install the wall and gazebo. Further support came from AXA, BT, Thornton Accountants and Lloyds TSB who assisted with site digging and levelling, as well as The Rotary Club of Ipswich and Network Rail.

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