Drop In days organised by the Holly Lodge Centre in the Isabella Plantation attract many children from all around Richmond Park Richmond Park, 14/15 August 2014 – Isabella Plantation came alive with the sound of little voices for two days last week as the Holly Lodge Centre and the Royal Parks co-operated to create a summer wonderland for dozens of children from communities surrounding Richmond Park. This was part of the annual Summer Fun activities organised by the Centre for children with special needs.

Finding masses of “frogspawn” (plastic cups cleverly dipped in washing up liquid), hunting “animals in the bracken” (mini plastic animals in shredded wheat), chasing “butterflies” (well, OK, they were paper but sure looked real). Just a few of the low-tech interactive activities at these innovative summer drop-in days. And story-telling sessions that kept the children entranced throughout the two days.

All blessed by lovely weather – just before the heavy ran fell.

And all with a serious purpose: to introduce children – particularly children of special educational needs – and their parents to the wonders of Richmond Park and the programmes of the Holly Lodge Centre. Throughout the year, the Holly Lodge Centre offers groups of visitors close encounters with the diverse wildlife and distinct environmental and historical heritage of Richmond Park. On the site of an 18th century farm, this unique education centre serves both children and adults – particularly those with special educational needs.

Whether following the Centre’s wheel-chair friendly nature trail or visiting the Victorian classroom and pharmacy, children experience parts of their National Curriculum coming to life. And both children and adults of special needs – for example with autism spectrum disorder – will be able to enhance their social and communication skills.

Based on information supplied by tim Brosnahan.