A place to celebrate customers past and present
By Heart of England Mencap, Sep 12 2017 02:12PM
Heart of England Mencap opens new garden at Alscot
FROM sensory beds to specially created murals, the customers of Heart of England Mencap now have a new outside space to spend time in and reflect.
A previously disused space next to the charity’s day activity base on the Alscot Estate, just outside Stratford, has been transformed into a vibrant walled garden to be used and enjoyed by the local people with learning disaibilities which Heart of England Mencap supports.
There are pots and borders filled with flowers, as well as raised sensory beds full of aromatic lavender and herbs, all ready to be tended by customers and used on cooking courses too.
The walls are decorated with a series of striking murals, created by Heart of England Mencap customers as part of a special art project. Working with the artist Lucy Bergonzi they came up with their own ideas of what to portray and then got to work using specialist waterproof paints.
The result is a stunning series of 8 pictures, all representing something very different, but with real meaning. There are farm animals, representing the voluntary work customers undertake at Mary Arden’s Farm, as well as murals paying tribute to customers who have passed away – from a New Zealand flag to remember Gillian and her roots, to a Wolves emblem to remember Russell’s love of his football team.
The garden also has a bench dedicated to the memory of customer Robin Vick; a place where his friends can sit and reflect and remember him.
“It’s a really special space which will have so many uses,” Jake Thornton, Programme Manager for Mencap’s day activity service Pathway, said.
“We’ll be able to enjoy gardening here and bring so many more activities outside as well, and it’s also a place where our customers can simply sit outside, to have their lunch, enjoy the flowers and nature, and remember their friends as well.”
Heart of England Mencap is very grateful to a team of teenagers who spent time volunteering with the charity over the summer as part of the National Citizen Service scheme, lending their green-fingers to get the garden open.
Funding from Stratford Town Trust has also been instrumental – funding the art project and murals as part of a £12,695 grant to support day activities.
The new garden was unveiled on Friday (September 8th) at a special Open Garden Morning, where customers, staff and supporters enjoyed tea and cake.
Photo: Heart of England Mencap customers Russell and Brian in the new garden, in front of some of the murals, with artist Lucy Bergonzi