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Thorpe tree plantation offer to help children with special needs get exercise during lockdown

Children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) are being offered the chance of a dedicated hour of their own at the tree plantation in Thorpe St Andrew in Norwich to help them get fresh air and exercise during lockdown.

The plantation will now be closed to the public every Thursday so the youngsters can spend time in the woodland in a safe and enclosed area without worrying about other people coming and going or leaving the gates open.

The idea has come from Thorpe St Andrew Town Council who were concerned about the impact on families and children with special needs and disabilities unable to exercise in a place which was safe and socially distanced from other people.

Broadland District Councillor and Town Mayor Cllr John Fisher said: “The government have recognised the impact of the lockdown rules on many SEND children and their families who are likely to be experiencing greater challenges during this time. We, as a Council, were keen to ensure that we were doing all we can to help them get the fresh air and exercise they and all children need when growing up.

“We know there is a shortage of suitable spaces and felt by allotting one day a week of this beautiful and peaceful open space we could help support them during this difficult time. The plantation contains a rich variety of trees, along with diverse plant life which makes it one of the most popular areas for families to visit in the town. It will provide a wide range of stimulation for children in a safe parkland environment.”

Families will be able to book one hour slots at the plantation on Thursdays. All requests should be made to thomas.foreman@thorpestandrew-tc.gov.uk

Other visitors to the area are being asked to avoid the plantation on those Thursdays until further notice. Dogs will continue to be banned from the site to prevent any risks to families arising from dog fouling.