Barnardo’s are one of the UK’s leading children’s charities and work directly with over 200,000 children, young people and and their families every year. They run over 900 vital services across the UK, including counselling for children who have been abused, fostering and adoption services, vocational training and disability inclusion groups.
GP Plantscape were approached to work with Barnardo’s to create an outdoor space for their offices in Edinburgh incorporating the natural woodland and layout of the site to build a range of outdoor experiences for children, parents and staff.
A design was created to cleverly use the outdoor elements to create spaces for reflection, for relaxation, for play, for conversation and counselling. Lots of places to laugh together and a few places to cry. Incidental spaces that quietly stimulate, challenge and support people. Spaces that encourage people to discover and appreciate the wildlife and plants of the site and maybe learn a little of natural world all around us.
During phase one of the works at Barnado’s we have been working on the Tranquil Courtyard Garden, a quiet and reflective garden created around a small central water feature, with decorative pavings and gravels and using curving screens of planting to form intimate seating alcoves. The other main focus has been the Kids Hang Out Area, an area of challenging play equipment and chillout spaces. This part of the site offers older children and young people a more secluded space to unwind, with informal seating and meeting sites for one-to-one interaction. It also has a vegetable and flower garden bed that could be cultivated and used by children if appropriate.
Every Barnardo’s service is different but each believes in the potential in every child and young person, no matter who they are, what they have done or what they have been through and we feel that this outdoor space reflects this ethos perfectly.