Award for £200,000 Sunderland sensory maze

WINNING DESIGN: Children at the Columbia Grange School maze.
WINNING DESIGN: Children at the Columbia Grange School maze.
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A SENSORY maze for children with special needs has scooped its designers an award.

Sunderland City Council’s Landscape Design Team has won a prestigious award for the maze, which is used by pupils with severe learning difficulties and autism at Columbia Grange School in Washington.

It is part of a £200,000 transformation of the outdoor area at the school.

The team was presented with the Commercial Landscaping Design title by Wayne Hemingway at the Northern Design Awards, which celebrate designers, retailers and property developers.

The maze was built after the school approached the authority’s in-house landscape architects with an ambitious idea to create the garden for two to 11-year-olds.

They were asked to use colour and sound, along with natural materials and plants, and worked with staff and parents of the Oxclose Road school on the plans.

The council’s cabinet member for children’s services, Councillor Pat Smith, said: “This is a fantastic achievement and recognition of some great work being delivered by the city council to schools in Sunderland.

“The success is all the more notable when you consider the project was completed in six months, from design to completion.”

The project beat competition from others in Cleveland, Cheshire and Lancashire among others to win.  

The school’s deputy headteacher, Rosey Walker, said: “The area that has been created has delivered everything we hoped for.

“The designer has worked in partnership with the school, to create an area that is not only great to look at but also offers a safe, motivating and exciting area for our pupils. The design has skilfully created a number of zones that are used on a daily basis to enhance learning and develop pupil’s skills.

“It also offers parents a safe, fun and interesting area to bring their children both after school and during school holidays.”