The Willow Tunnel at the sensory garden at the ABACAS School in Drogheda.
Autism Support Louth&Meath is one of 84 projects from around the country selected to receive support from the new AXA Parks Fund, which is promoting green spaces across all 32 counties.
Autism Support Louth&Meath and the Drogheda ABACAS Special School are taking part in a national drive to promote local green spaces, biodiversity and community connections with new funding, secured through the AXA Parks Fund.
People of all ages will have access to a green space which will not only help improve health and wellbeing but will also seek address the bio-diversity emergency which has seen many flowers, plants, trees and animals in danger, or in some cases disappear.
The project will fund the creation, design and planting of a living willow tunnel in the Sensory Garden at ABACAS School which is used extensively by Autism Support Louth&Meath youth clubs and summer camps as well as the students from Drogheda ABACAS School and parent meet ups.
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An area will be dug out from a concrete space for planting and the living willow will be planted in specially dug trenches to support growth. The willow will grow each year and will either be woven back into the tunnel structure or cut and replanted to create another living willow sculpture.
This creates a visually beautiful and interactive sensory space for the autistic children using the space and also for all visitors and passers-by as well as adding to the biodiversity of the Sensory Garden.
Jacinta Walsh (Spokesperson) says: “The support of the AXA Parks Fund through The Community Foundation for Ireland is a great help in turning our vision into reality.
“Local green spaces are vital assets which should be protected, promoted and supported. Our work now will not only deliver benefits for the children and teenagers using the sensory garden now but will help ensure the survival of our local biodiversity to be enjoyed for generations to come.”
This project is one of 84 being undertaken by community groups across Ireland with funding totalling €900,000 from the AXA Parks Fund.
Antoinette McDonald, Director of Marketing at AXA said: “AXA Parks is about helping local communities to thrive by empowering them with the resources they need to bring projects to life. Small, local groups continue to work tirelessly to deliver meaningful projects in their local communities.
"The grants announced today will become alive over the coming months as the community projects take shape and will brighten up the countryside for everyone next Spring and Summer.”