Not for Profit

Diverse Abilities thanks local businesses and individuals as it launches special educational needs centre

By Sam Pither [email protected]

Published: July 9, 2024 | Updated: 9th July 2024

A charity which supports children and adults in Dorset who are living with profound physical and learning disabilities has launched a new centre for children with special educational needs.

Launching The Treehouse, a new centre for children with special educational needs based on the site of Adventure Wonderland near Bournemouth Airport, Diverse Abilities thanked local businesses and individuals who have made the project possible by making donations or volunteering their time.

Volunteers got stuck in, helping with jobs such as painting, clearing, gardening, and cleaning, with volunteers offering over 1,000 hours of their time to make sure the centre was ready to welcome children for the Easter holidays.

The grand opening was an opportunity for attendees to look around the centre which includes indoor soft play, a sensory room, gaming room, and cinema room, as well as a kitchen area where the children can learn important food preparation skills. It was also a chance to hear about plans for the large outside areas including a play park, sensory garden, water play area, and a go-kart and scooter track.

Mark Powell, CEO of Diverse Abilities, opened the event and spoke with enthusiasm about the huge task that had been undertaken, the scale of the help received from the local community and plans for the future. As well as the impact this facility would have on the children supported by the charity and their families.

This was followed by reflections from Sir Christopher Lee who was attending the official opening in his role as Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Dorset and spoke from the heart about the journeys that families go on when they find out their child has a disability, and how important charities like Diverse Abilities are to support them through their lives.

Mark Powell, CEO at Diverse Abilities commented: “It was fantastic to have such a great turnout from the many businesses and individuals that have supported us since January. Some volunteers will not have seen The Treehouse since February or March, so there really is a noticeable difference since they last visited. We couldn’t have done this without the help of the local community, we are extremely grateful.”

The centre will now be home to Diverse Abilities Children’s Team and host services for children with a range of needs and their families, including school holiday activities, weekend, and evening sessions, as well as services to support siblings and families.

Find out more about The Treehouse, and the services available at

Diverse Abilities is looking for support for the next phase of The Treehouse, either through a donation or volunteering. Get in touch with their fundraising team by emailing [email protected] or by phone on 01202 718266.

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