Ipswich Autism & ADHD finishes Covid garden project


Released:
12:00 am September 21, 2022



An organization that supports people with autism and ADHD is delighted to have completed their memorial garden – a two-year project that they were keen to see through to completion.

The Covid Memorial Garden is now open for visitors and is located in Oaks Meadow in Combs.

Autism and ADHD is an Ipswich based organization that was contacted by UK Youth in 2020 to run a range of projects for girls and young women.

“We became a delivery service for a project called EmpowHER,” explained CEO Annie Clements. “It was about using social action projects to improve the mental health of young girls.”


Michelle said working on this project helped the girls blossom.

Michelle said working on this project helped the girls blossom.
– Photo credit: Michelle Chisholm

Autism and ADHD recruited about 20 girls for the project and approached them through their schools.

“We thought it would be face-to-face to allow them to build friendship groups,” said Michelle Chisholm, who co-led the project with colleague Kristie Frost.

“But then we went into lockdown.

“So we faced the difficult task of running the group online via Zoom. The girls struggled to make friends this way and some were really shy using the technology.”

Many chose to leave the project until only three remained.

However, these three girls, along with Michelle and Kristie, were determined to see the project through.

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“The project is run by the girls and they thought it would be a good idea to do a Covid remembrance garden,” Michelle said.

“It was really, really hard to find the country and we kept hitting closed doors. I got to the point where I thought we’re never really going to make it.”

They persevered, however, and were happy to find land in Stowmarket. They managed to secure a plot of land as part of the Oaks Meadow Project.


All three girls are proud of their hard work.

All three girls are proud of their hard work.
– Photo credit: Michelle Chisholm


The garden is located in Combs as part of the Oaks Meadow Project.

The garden is located in Combs as part of the Oaks Meadow Project.
– Photo credit: Michelle Chisholm

“Now, two years later, we have completed the garden. It gave a sense of completion and pride that despite the doors we had to knock on, we didn’t give up. We made it possible,” said Michelle.

“I was really proud to share the message with our girls, if you never give up and keep trying, good things happen,” said Michelle.

“It’s not the end – it’s actually the beginning because there are young plants and trees that have just been planted so that it matures and becomes more beautiful year after year.”



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