Sensory garden taking shape at Wollescote Park
A stunning sensory garden is to be installed at Wollescote Park this spring, thanks to £40,550 of Dudley Council’s Voluntary Sector Innovation Fund.
The Friends of Wollescote Park were successful in the bid and members are working with the council as well as local organisations and community volunteers to plan and maintain the new garden.
Left to right: Deborah Merrick, senior park ranger at Dudley Council; Councillor Karen Shakespeare, cabinet member responsible for parks; Ivor Simpkins, Liz Lapper and Jack Kirton, volunteers for Friends of Wollescote Park; Julia Marks, chair of the Friends group; Mike Troon, treasurer of the Friends group; and Gerry Bedford, from the Sons of Rest group.
Plans for the area, which will replace the park’s existing garden, incorporate areas of seating, sensory planting, food and herb growing.
The existing hut will also be replaced as part of the work, with work expected to take place this spring and summer.
Improvements will be made to access to the garden, with ramps to be added, and a more open and welcoming entrance will be added to the garden.
An area to play petanque - a French game similar to bowls which can be played all year round - will also be created along with a pop-up events cafe.
The friends group has consulted with a number of community organisations and has pledged to maintain the site alongside local volunteers, groups and businesses.
Locally based organisations such as Beacon for the Blind and Kids, which works with disabled children, plan to use the site to help their clients with additional needs and will support with the management of the garden.
The Sons of Rest, an over 60s club which meets weekly at Wollescote Hall, is also involved with the project.
Councillor Karen Shakespeare, cabinet member for environmental, highways and street services, said:
We all know the huge physical and mental health benefits that can come from gardening and I’m delighted to see such inclusive and exciting plans taking shape at one of our parks.
The sensory garden will be accessible for everyone and will help to bring people of all ages and abilities together throughout the seasons.
We were most impressed with how the plans offer people with disabilities, sight impairments and additional needs a range of low impact activities and the wonderful raised beds that will enable wheelchair users to enjoy being hands on in the garden.
The Friends group is looking for volunteers to help with planting the garden in the spring, as well as people who would be interested in the Petanque club.
People who want to take part can find out more by visiting the Friends of Wollescote Park Facebook page here.