A MAJOR project is under way to bring a little bit of joy to a boy with severe disabilities in time for his fifth birthday.

Zachariah Followes and his family moved into an adapted house in Radcliffe in October 2018 after two years of waiting for a suitable property that would accommodate all of the Millwood Primary School pupil's needs.

However, the garden at their new home in Seddon Street was neglected and is an unsafe environment for Zachariah who has a life-limiting condition and is wheelchair-bound.

A huge effort is now in the making to create a "beautiful, personalised, safe" outdoor space for the family to enjoy.

Construction teams, bricklayers and tradesmen as well as green-fingered members of the community are rallying round to give the garden a complete makeover this weekend.

Mum Rochelle, who is her son's full-time carer, said: "Zachariah was diagnosed with a change in the Tubb2b gene which left him with uncontrolled epilepsy, severe disabilities and means that he is wheelchair bound.

"He has to be tube fed and is severely visually impaired. He requires 24-hour support.

"When we moved into the house, all our energies were on ensuring the house was ready and suitable for him. Now we are heading towards summer, we are desperate to turn this basic back yard into a special haven."

She added: "Being outside has real health and social benefits for Zachariah.

"Having the wind blowing on his face is an absolute blessing for him."

The family began raising money for the garden improvements earlier this year, and organised an Easter quiz to bring in extra funds. They have raised £1,200 for the project. However, they have been unable to pull together enough money for an entire remake of the outdoor space.

Mrs Followes said: "All the flags outside are raised, they are different sizes, they sit at different levels which makes it very difficult to take a wheelchair outdoors."

They therefore reached out to The Frost Foundation, a Radcliffe charity that helps local children who are disadvantaged by illness, circumstance or lack of funding, or are living in crisis.

Founder Wendy Veevers said: “The garden is a nightmare, so much so that Zachariah can’t enjoy being outside. It looked horrendous, it was overgrown and messy.

“The charity has pledged to help makeover the garden so it becomes a safe environment for him.

"The idea is to completely overhaul this garden. The idea is to have everything ready for Zachariah's birthday on June 9 so the family can have a very special celebration for him."

The Frost Foundation requested several quotes for the project but decided to undertake the task themselves at a lower cost. The charity is paying for the materials and supplies.

Work will include clearing the patio and soil, refitting a new larger patio and building a small garden wall. Volunteers will also install a new garden swing, add a section of artificial grass and playground tiles, install a new fence and design a new border with plants and flowers.

Volunteers are invited to join the workforce on Saturday. To get in touch, email wendy@frostfoundation.co.uk.