Willowgrove opens its doors on new facility

Members of Barnardo's Banbridge Helper Group (l-r) Liz Coburn, Isobel Moorhead, Jamie Hatton (15), Lord Mayor Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Julie Flaherty, Joyce McMurray and Marianne Nelson.
Members of Barnardo's Banbridge Helper Group (l-r) Liz Coburn, Isobel Moorhead, Jamie Hatton (15), Lord Mayor Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Julie Flaherty, Joyce McMurray and Marianne Nelson.

Barnardo’s NI in Banbridge has officially opened a new playground and sensory room at its Willowgrove service for 5-17 year olds with learning disabilities, life-limiting conditions and physical disabilities.

The playground has been designed to provide wheelchair friendly equipment and the new state-of-art sensory room incorporates the latest in digital technology. Both have been funded by the accountancy firm PwC NI.

Pictured at the official ribbon cutting are Jamie Hatton (15), Lord Mayor Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Julie Flaherty, PwC partner David Armstrong and Barnardo's Willowgrove Manager Liz Greer.

Pictured at the official ribbon cutting are Jamie Hatton (15), Lord Mayor Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Julie Flaherty, PwC partner David Armstrong and Barnardo's Willowgrove Manager Liz Greer.

PwC NI has been a corporate partner of Barnardo’s NI over the past two years and the staff raised over £65,000 for the charity’s Banbridge service through a programme of fundraising activities.

Barnardo’s NI Willowgrove Manager Liz Greer said: “Willowgrove will be celebrating its 30th anniversary next year and it is fantastic that we have these new facilities for the children. The staff at PwC have been amazing and we are thrilled with our new playground which includes a wheelchair friendly trampoline and roundabout, an outdoor sensory pod, musical equipment, swings and oversized outdoor seating. The sensory room is also a big hit with the children and they can chill out with music and lights all operated digitally and wirelessly. Both facilities have already had a positive impact on the children and we have seen advances in some that we had not expected. All the children, their families and Barnardo’s staff are delighted with the new equipment and playground and we can’t thank PwC enough.”

PwC Partner David Armstrong said: “PwC NI is very proud of what its staff have achieved for the children and families at Barnardo’s Banbridge. Our staff not only raised over £65,000 to fund the new playground and sensory room but also volunteered their time to work on the playground. It has been an extremely rewarding partnership and the best part by far is the positive impact both the sensory room and playground have had on the children.”

Barnardo’s Willowgrove service in Banbridge currently offers short breaks, day care and community based services to 24 children with learning disabilities, life limiting conditions and physical disabilities. The playground was designed and installed by Appletree Play based in Katesbridge.

Jamie Hatton (15) pictured at WIllowgrove wearing the Mayor's Chain.

Jamie Hatton (15) pictured at WIllowgrove wearing the Mayor's Chain.