Chessington District Residents’ Association
Yorda Playhouse , located in Devon Way, is a not-for-profit group who care for children with severe learning or physical disabilities. On Monday 22nd October, Kingston’s Mayor cut the ribbon to officially open the children’s new play area. Our Chairman Colin Punch was in attendance and wrote:-
‘Over a period of six months, in conjunction with Yorda, it was designed on a wild adventure theme, built in three weeks, and paid for, by Chessington World of Adventures internal group charity called Merlin’s Magic Wand. Champions Timber and CEF (City Electrical Factors) supplied free of charge the timber and flood lighting.The project was run by CWoA’s various teams but they also used their groundworks contractor, general builder and specialist electrician, all of whom did it free of charge.Just over three skips of rubbish were removed from site. A fourteen feet diameter hole was dug to allow the large trampoline to be set flush with the ground making it much safer to use. A sand pit, balance beams and large shelter were installed and oversized silhouettes of wild animalswere mounted on the perimeter fence. The end result was a much more interesting and adventurous place for the children.CWoA will continue to support Yorda to ensure it stays the fun place it is.
Yorda is run by Laura Smyth together with a great team. Laura had worked with families and children for many years when she started Yorda in 2006 and they were subsequently located in a number of different places. They are now in what was previously the youth club. In2015 the building was sub-let to them via the youth service and in 2016 they were able to take over the lease which runs until 2021. ‘Yorda’ is how one of the children who inspired the company to begin, said ‘Laura’.
Activities for children with disabilities, include an after school club, play scheme, family days and overnight breaks.On Wednesdays and Thursdays between 9.30am and 2.30pm they have activities for children up to twelve years old with and without disabilities. Outside, these include a trampoline, swing, bikes and scooters and inside, a soft play area and bouncy castle plus other things to educate and amuse.During this time the accompanying adults can relax with a tea or coffee while their children enjoy themselves.Apart from the new play area they have the forest adventures area. On Wednesdays the children can wade in the stream, hide, make dens, play on the tree swings and there is even a ‘mud kitchen’.
New volunteers are always welcome, especially for the after school club, and training will be given.
At weekends this spacious building, with on-site car parking, is available to hire for a child’s birthday party or a family celebration.