Autistic boy can play in his Portsmouth garden for the first time thanks to £15,000 charity makeover

AN AUTISTIC boy and his family are over the moon after their back garden was transformed following a £15,000 makeover – allowing him to play there for the first time in his life.

Friday, 25th January 2019, 7:37 am
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 6:59 pm
Rudy Canavan 10 with the Wellchild and Siemens team in his new garden. Picture: Habibur Rahman.

Ten year-old Rudy, who also has conditions affecting his right side, was too afraid to play in the back garden of his Falmouth Road home in Portsmouth due to the stones and gravel that made him fear falling over.

But his dreams came true after children’s charity WellChild along with 14 volunteers from the firm Siemens worked tirelessly to make the garden fun and safe in two days.

It means Cliffdale Primary Academy School pupil Rudy now has soft artificial grass to play on. There is also play bark where the trampoline now resides and a magnificent water wall – a sensory water feature for him to play with that helps his condition.

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Rudy Canavan 10 with the Wellchild and Siemens team in his new garden. Picture: Habibur Rahman.

The charity was carrying out the work as one of its renowned Helping Hands projects.after Rudy’s mum Nicola Canavan, 47, applied a year ago.

Following the makeover, Nicola said: ‘They’ve done an amazing job. It looks amazing. Rudy loves it. Before he wouldn’t go in the garden as he was scared of the stones and didn’t like uneven surfaces but now he’ll be able to play outside and wear himself out.

‘Before he would lose the plot sometimes because he couldn’t play outside and would then be stuck upstairs playing on his computer on a hot day. He’ll now be able to enjoy the garden for the first time. I only applied a year ago - it’s been such a quick turnaround.’

Dad Dean, 39, added: ‘We’re really chuffed. They’ve done a brilliant job. Rudy and his brother Harry love it. They can both play out there together now. We looked into having the worked done ourselves but the quotes were £10,000 or more so we couldn’t afford to do it.’  

The sensory garden made for Rudy Canavan at his garden in Paulsgrove, Portsmouth by Wellchild and volunteers of Siemens. Picture: Habibur Rahman.

The work cost the charity £6,500 but with materials and labour it would have cost up to £15,000.

Lorna Pedersen, head of Helping Hands, said: ‘It’s a really good result, especially doing it within two days and in the rain.

‘Rudy couldn’t access the garden before so it’s great he can play in the garden for the first time. He couldn’t play with his brother Harry either so it is great they can both now play together in the garden.

‘It will have a great impact on the whole family as they can now socialise and be together in the garden.’

Nicky Canavan, Dean Canavan and their children, Harry, eight and Rudy, 10 - and Berty the dog Picture: Habibur Rahman