Twigs awarded €10,000 for sensory eco-friendly garden
Shauna Kavanagh, Jess Conlon, Jasmine Jones and Kellie Whelan from Twigs

Twigs awarded €10,000 for sensory eco-friendly garden

In a series of weekly articles, we get the full story on the 13 projects awarded funding through the €100k Tallaght Fund, and how each project aims to positively impact the community.

THE dream of creating a unique, community-based sensory garden around the needs of autistic children has become a reality, after a local after-school service received €10,000 in funding.

Twigs After School Care has been awarded €10,000 through the Tallaght Fund, a €100,000 annual investment by the Siol Foundation into grassroot projects in the area.

A social enterprise, the Siol Foundation was founded by Tallaght entrepreneur Ed Dunne who, growing up in Belgard, wanted to create a fund for innovative, sustainable projects in Tallaght.

The first of its kind nationally, Twigs was one of 13 projects to receive funding through the Tallaght Fund in 2021.

Established by Glenshane sisters Jess and Lydia Conlon in 2018, Twigs provides holistic assisted after school care for autistic children in its specially designed premises in the Killinarden Industrial Estate.

Catering for children aged four to 14, Twigs individualises every child that comes through the door, with its assisted after school care specifically designed to enhance and fulfil mental wellbeing of children.

Alongside lots of fun activities and programmes, Twigs also provides a quiet space for homework and one-to-one assistance when needed.

Jasmine Jones, Jess Conlon, Shauna Kavanagh and Kellie Whelan at Twigs on Tuesday

All of Twigs’ staff are specifically trained to the needs of the children, with a ratio of 1:4.

Speaking with The Echo, Jess said that Twigs has a 98.3 per cent success rate in children’s emotional and physical progression, a figure is based on feedback from teachers, multi-disciplinary teams and families.

In the past two years, more than 200 neurodiverse children have come through the doors of Twigs, with 110 kids taking part in their four-week, annual summer programme.

According to Jess, Twigs provides a “space not provided elsewhere”, with the after school care setting specifically designed for children with a diagnosis of ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder).

For the past three years, the team at Twigs has been dreaming of bringing its unique, specialised design outdoors through the creation of a sensory garden.

Thanks to a €10,000 grant from the Tallaght Fund and support from Partas, which provided Twigs with a green space, a sensory eco-friendly garden is now in planning.

A planted garden, mud bath, butterfly sanctuary, play space and opportunities for tactile and sensory play, exploration and gardening have now taken root – with the secure sensory garden due to open in July.

The garden will also be eco-friendly, promoting bio-diversity through the planting of flowers and plants.

“We’re developing the garden with safety in mind, it will give children the space to explore,” Jess said.

“We’re absolutely thrilled and are hoping to have the garden ready for July.”

Twigs is also linked in with parent-led, community-based groups for children with additional needs, which will be able to explore and enjoy the new garden too.

“Thanks so much to the Tallaght Fund and Partas,” Jess said.

“This garden will provide an inclusive, outdoor space for hundreds of children in the community.”

Learn more about Twigs by visiting HERE, calling 01 5526077 or following them on social media.

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