Page 42 - ALG Issue 1 2022
P. 42

                                East Midlands
Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Leicestershire, Derbyshire, Northamptonshire and Rutland
This feels a very happy, magical, safe place
   In the summer of the first lockdown, Sue Pyecroft, one of the Directors
at Bamboozle Theatre Company in Leicester, contacted Paul Howgill, the manager of Rowley Fields Allotment and Gardens, with an idea for a project designed for families who have autistic children. Bamboozle was looking for a secure wildlife area, or an overgrown allotment plot in which they could run creative outdoor sessions for families. Paul replied saying that they had a Wildlife plot which he thought may
be suitable. The Wildlife plot, which became ‘The Backyard’ was perfect. It was secure, it had a pond, a cabin and lots of trees.
Over the summer of 2021, The Backyard became a place of relaxation, curiosity, and magic for 50 families who booked onto an hour and a half session from May through to August this year. The families from Leicester and beyond who visited The Backyard, were met at the allotment gates, and then walked to
the site. Arriving at The Backyard, the
family entered a willow tunnel, at the end of which they met a potion maker called Glendolin. Another character, called McGeorge, was found under an ancient Hawthorn tree, trying to float stones in a tin bath filled with water! After a welcome song on a picnic blanket, the parents or carers were given a cup of tea and encouraged to relax and put their feet up as the young people explored the site. Some children created magical potions, collecting
the ‘ingredients’ with Glendolin. Some children helped McGeorge make a raft out of twigs to balance a stone on to get it to float. Other children made dens, clay faces, their own songs, or played hide and seek. There was no fixed agenda and because of this the children played and interacted in ways they felt most comfortable. Lydia, mother of Lizzie told us:
“I am so grateful to you all. It has been amazing to see how quickly Lizzie has relaxed and how much she has talked! Lizzie often doesn’t talk with new people
Lizzie often doesn’t talk with new people and in new situations, yet here she has chatted happily
and in new situations, yet here she has chatted happily. Lizzie was allowed
to open up in her own time and was enraptured with the activities. This feels a very happy, magical safe place.”
Vicky Davies who came with her daughter Chloe, said about The Backyard:
“Anxiety ebbs away rapidly, the magic of the location and the wonderful people involved, are a purely ‘magical’ combination. It is also a chance for parents to take a little ‘me’ time while our kids are happy and safe. It’s like walking into a daydream.”
Bamboozle are so grateful for the support and generosity of Paul Howgill, the allotment committee, and the plotholders at the Rowley Fields Allotment and Gardens site, who made us feel welcome and helped to make this project happen.
Sue Pyecroft, Bamboozle Theatre
      42 Allotment and Leisure Gardener

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