Campaigning couple to create sensory garden space for people with autism

Paul (right) and Michael Atwal-Brice at the allotment site with their children, from left to right: Lotan, Levi, Lanson and Lucas - photo by Kerrie BeddowsPaul (right) and Michael Atwal-Brice at the allotment site with their children, from left to right: Lotan, Levi, Lanson and Lucas - photo by Kerrie Beddows
Paul (right) and Michael Atwal-Brice at the allotment site with their children, from left to right: Lotan, Levi, Lanson and Lucas - photo by Kerrie Beddows
AN AWARD-WINNING Rotherham couple looking to create a sanctuary and sensory garden for autistic children are appealing for the public to help turn their vision into a reality.

Michael and Paul Atwal-Brice are well-known fundraisers for several charities and proud parents to two sets of twins Levi and Lucas (17), and Lotan and Lanson (six).

Levi and Lucas both have severe autism, developmental delay, severe learning difficulties, are pre-verbal, and can require round-the-clock care and supervision.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The boys – students at Thurnscoe 's Robert Ogden School for autistic children and young people – are also severely epileptic and have been hospitalised throughout their lives as a result of seizures.

Their fundraising dads Michael and Paul have won a number of awards including an honorary gong in the first ever Fatherhood Awards in 2022, which recognised dads who have “illuminated the way for other current and future fathers”.

Michael is also one of only 25 individuals to have been recognised at the Palace of Westminster with the prestigious British Citizen Award by national charity AFK in recognition of his “extraordinary endeavours” supporting disabled children, young people and their families.

The Atwal-Brices are also active campaigners on LGBTQ+ issues, adoption and fostering.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Michael (30) and Paul (46) have now acquired a piece of land at Togo Street allotments, Thurnscoe, and want to redevelop the site.

Michael said: “We want it to be a community-based and accessible sensory garden.

“We want children across the vast spectrum of autism to have a nice and calm environment where they can be themselves and have fun.”

Among the planned features are an area to plant and grow seedlings, a raised flowerbed, and a sunken trampoline to aid those with restricted movement.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“There are less and less places for people with autism,” said Michael. “We have been overwhelmed by people commenting on social media saying they are desperate for something like this.”

The pair – who hope to open the garden site next month – are asking for anyone in the community who can put up fencing, landscape or help in anyway to get in touch.

Call 07595 035596, email [email protected] or visit @autism.allotments on Facebook and Instagram.

Related topics: