Family’s garden makeover gives disabled Alex outside lifeline

A Lavenham family have enjoyed a Ground Force-style makeover in their garden, finally giving a disabled boy an outdoor space he can enjoy.

Susie McLauchlan is a full-time carer to her disabled 12-year-old son, Alex, and has never had the chance to enjoy her garden.

Now, thanks to Well Child, a charity which helps seriously ill children and families across the UK, and an army of volunteers from NatWest, Miss McLauchlan has a garden she and her two children can enjoy.

Alex has a chromosomal abnormality and cystic fibrosis which requires chest physio three times a day.

“He is non-verbal, he has the mental age of a two-year-old,” said his mother. “He’s just a tall 12-year-old toddler.”

The garden will provide a lifeline to all of the family but will be of special significance to Alex.

“It will allow him to play outside in a safe environment,” she said. “They are going to put a swing in there for him.

“I can’t take him out for long walks but he will be able to play on the swing and play with his ball and have his physio out there.

“When he is older, he will be on oxygen so it will be harder to get out. It will just be nice for him to enjoy some outdoor life.”

The space will also offer Alex’s eight-year-old sister, Isabella, a place to enjoy and will give Susie somewhere to watch her children play safely, allowing her to relax.

“I have my very own garden – it’s amazing,” she said. “A garden is quite uplifting for everyone but it would have been a massive expense and a mammoth task for me to do it on my own.”

Currently, the garden at the home in Spring Street, Lavenham, is just bare earth with a drop from the house to access it.

A deck will be installed to enable level access to the garden and give the family somewhere to sit, while a wheelchair-friendly play area and swing will be put in.

The family’s case was referred to Well Child by Alex’s social worker.

Their plight was then chosen as one of a select few, with the two-day project beginning yesterday.

Miss McLauchlan said she was “extremely pleased” that the charity had chosen to help her and her family with the makeover.