MORE than 100 patients and guests celebrated the official opening of a new children’s ‘sensory garden’ at Burnley General Hospital.

The therapy area, which is attached to the Rainbow Centre, offers children with complex needs the opportunity to play outside and try out different physical activities.

The garden includes a Wendy house, benches painted in the colours of the rainbow, wind tunnels and spirals, animal-shaped mirrors, musical pipes, a bridge, flower bed, herb garden and sheltered canopy area.

The Rainbow Centre, located above the Urgent Care Centre, provides specialist facilities to support children with severe and complex needs, providing outpatient consultation, day therapy facilities including physiotherapy and specialist sensory rooms to support the work of the unit.

The centre and its new garden have won praise from parents of children, including Colne mum Emily Heaton.

The 21-year-old, whose 20-month-old son Anthony Jack attends for physiotherapy treatment, said: “Anthony Jack loves coming here and I’m having trouble keeping up with him today as he’s been busy exploring the fabulous sensory garden.”

The centre opened in January and brought together services previously provided at Reedley Hall Child Development Centre and the Therapy Unit, Rainbows, previously based at the Holden Centre in Barrowford.

Nathasha Whiteley, 26, who started bringing her nine-month-old son Oscar, who has cerebral palsy, for treatment four weeks ago, said: “Coming here has really helped our whole family.

“Oscar loves coming to the groups and I’ve already noticed the difference it has made to his general wellbeing. It’s been great for me too as I’ve made a new friend in Emily whose son is also receiving treatment here.

“We all socialise together now and we would never have met had it not been for the Rainbow Centre.”

Dr Sheran Perera, a consultant paediatrician at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “The Rainbow Centre is a very positive investment in neurodevelopmental paediatric services, providing a great opportunity to further improve provision on the Burnley site for our children and community.”