At Autism Anglia's Doucecroft School in Colchester, we are constantly developing new ways to engage with our pupils and fulfil their needs; both in the classroom and in our outdoor areas.

We are however, acutely aware that our play spaces and equipment are no longer meeting the needs of all our students. We were fortunate to have a new all-weather football pitch installed on our backfield a few years ago but it is free play and sensory exploration that we are now looking to provide.

Our staff and therapy team have worked with a dedicated play company to devise three wonderful new areas for play that will suit our very youngest pupils – right up to our transition pupils. Providing them with physical, sensory, and imaginative play equipment that will help them develop and interact with each other.

The grand plan is enormous (and frighteningly expensive) so we have split it down to four, hopefully manageable, phases to fundraise and install them over the next 1-5 years.

As I’m sure you can imagine it is going to take a lot of fundraising to be able to realise our plans, which is why we have launched the Happy Adventures Playground Appeal:

Children with autism often have difficulty processing sensory information. The impact of sensory processing difficulties can be wide and varied, and influence self regulation, stress levels, behaviour, learning, interactions with others, coordination and movement skills. If these sensory behaviours are not understood, then they can impact on their ability to cope with many everyday situations and some may even appear as challenging behaviour.

While play can seem simple and natural, it is surprisingly complex in terms of the ways in which it supports positive growth and development. Children have a natural motivation to play and while having fun they can also learn new skills and interact with their environment in a way that is meaningful and purposeful. Playground equipment can offer unique and beneficial sensory experiences that are difficult for children to get through other forms of play, which is especially important to the development of children with sensory disorders.

How you can help:


Donations of any size would be gratefully received. Use this link to donate and please share among your friends and family in case they can help too. You could also share the appeal on social media.

Corporate donations

Many businesses support charities through corporate donations and charity of the year fundraising. If you work for, or know of a
business, that may be able to support us, please do speak to them about this project. They may like to sponsor a particular area or piece of Adventures Adventures Happy Playground Appeal equipment. In return we are always happy to work with businesses to provide PR opportunities to raise their profile in our community.

Sponsored challenge

Take on a personal challenge to raise funds, from a sponsored walk to a skydive we can support you with your challenge. Our website has a few ideas already and you can quickly set up a Just Giving sponsorship page by clicking the orange ‘Start Fundraising’ button
linked to the campaign:


Are you a brilliant baker, super car boot seller or a disco diva? Why not hold an event to raise funds? Make and sell cakes, create a
raffle or host a party! Be sure to let us know what you have planned, and we will help you to promote it.

Community events

Do you know of any local fetes or fayres coming up? We can provide you with all the equipment you’d need to run a stall and
collect donations or run a tombola.

Community groups

Do you have any connections with local golf clubs, Rotary clubs, Round Tables, WIGS, Ladies Circle, Lions clubs, local councillors,
community Facebook groups or grant making trusts? We can support you in making a personal approach for donations or you can
provide us with the contact details.

If you have any other ideas you would like to share with us, please email the Fundraising team: [email protected]

Your support with this project would be gratefully received by our current pupils and will also help to leave a legacy for future students of Doucecroft School.

Thank you