EquATA - Connected Cabins for SEN Visitors
Read how mother and daughter team Jo and Ellie transformed their charity EquATA with a bespoke connected series of camping cabins...
"The cabins have transformed EquATA, without them we wouldn't have been able to keep going."
EquATA is a non-profit organisation set in a beautiful woodland in Northamptonshire. They use horses and the natural environment to provide services and support for people with autism and ADHD. EquATA is run by mother and daughter team Jo and Ellie along with a small team of volunteers. Due to the needs of the people that visit EquATA, the team only work with one family at a time. A session with the horses lasts an hour, and each family pays a small fee for the session. As part of that they are welcome to spend as much time as they like relaxing and playing in the cabins afterwards.
The work that EquATA does is widely recognised. They have received both lottery and local funding to help them to continue to offer their services. The biggest challenge they faced was that they had to close in the winter months because they didn’t have a communal indoor area for the visiting families to use in bad weather. This meant lots of hard work and greater financial commitment from Jo and Ellie and their family. It also meant that they couldn’t offer any support to families in the winter months.
Ellie thought our Cabins for Schools cabins would be perfect to create the indoor space that equATA so desperately needed, and that they would fit perfectly within the woodland setting. Due to the nature of Autism and ADHD Jo and Ellie didn't want a large open indoor space, i.e. a large cabin. They wanted smaller spaces that could be used for different activities and that visitors could wander freely between in safety. After many discussions with Cabins for Schools, the plan for a bespoke combination of 10m² and 14m² cabins and extensions was put together. Then, all EquATA needed was the funding! In 2013, the funding was secured. After many discussions based on Ellie's requirements and vision, a plan for 4 connected cabins was agreed. Ellie wanted 4 spaces; a sensory room, a pool/games room, a soft play and a barbecue cabin. Cabins for Schools installed one 10m² barbecue cabin and three 14m² cabins without the barbecue feature. Also, each cabin is connected by a 2 meter extension.
Getting funding and installing the cabins has meant that EquATA can carry on operating and supporting families 12 months of the year. Jo said: 'the cabins have transformed EquATA. Without them we wouldn't have been able to carry on indefinitely. Prior to having the cabins we had to close for 3 months in the winter, which meant we didn't get any income and we couldn't support any families who needed our services.' The cabins are used every single day and also for special events. They have been used for parties/get-togethers, open days and children's birthday parties. Jo said, 'everyone loves the cabins, the children call them 'Pixie Houses'. They are so relaxing! The natural materials, the smell of the wood - it's wonderful. They really add value to what we offer and the families love them. We have helped 950 families in the 6 years we have been open and in 2014 we helped more families than ever before. In fact, we are averaging 20 families per week since the cabins have been installed!'
With EquATA being a charity, everything is funding-driven. However, funding is being sought for a further cabin and toilet/shower block so that Jo and Ellie can offer families residential/overnight stays. Jo concluded: 'Cabins for Schools have been so supportive. We really appreciate all of their help. If one thing is for certain it's that, if and when we do expand, we wouldn't consider going anywhere else!' Does your educational institution require Outdoor Classrooms
or Log Cabins
for SEN? Get in touch today!