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A strong sense of community helps build sensory garden

by Burns Team Writer

Back in June the Burns in The Community team were approached by Anne Gilley, a Co-op member pioneer, to take part in a very exciting project and as always, they jumped at the opportunity.

The story begins with an advertisement made by Boom Cymru, a production company making programmes for Welsh language tv channel S4C. They were looking for a community project to spend a whopping £5000 on and Anne had just the idea in mind, a sensory garden for the community where people with a sensory impairment could come and enjoy the sights, sounds and smells.

Kidwelly Town Council agreed the use of the green area at Parc Stephens, so it was time to put forward the idea to Boom Cymru to see if they were interested in supporting the new sensory garden.

After meeting with Boom Cymru there was a nervous wait to find out whether they had been successful. It was in February that they received the fantastic news that they had been chosen out of over 100 applicants.

Now all they needed was a team of volunteers to make the dream a reality and Anne set out to rally the troops. “I needed volunteers and my first thought was to contact the Burns in the community team.” Said Anne “They were instantly a definite yes.”

Working in partnership with Boom Cymru, the community set to work preparing for the build. Local parents and experts were approached for advice on what should be included, and the designer drew up some plans.

Local businesses were approached and many supporting the build by donating materials. Chris Cray, Community Project Officer at Burns in the community knew exactly how we could help.
“When Anne asked if we could help, I knew the perfect way to make the most of this opportunity for both Anne and our own groups. Our Butterfly Effect project works with a group of young people from Mencap and service users at BIRT, who support people who have suffered a brain injury, and I knew that they would love to help. So, we decided to use our woodworking skills and made a picnic table and chairs for the garden.”

All of the components were in place, they had all of the materials, a design, the support of Boom Cymru and a team of volunteers including builders, carpenters and odd jobs men who were happy to work free of charge. The next step was to take the plunge and get the build started.

Over three days at the end of June the team set to work. The sun was shining, and they were being plied with free food and drink to keep them going. By June 23 the project was complete, and it was time to unveil their handiwork for the community to see and enjoy.

Anne commented “We were all thrilled with the result and the feedback since has been overwhelming.”

The sensory garden is the only facility of its kind in Carmarthenshire and the Burns in the community team feel very proud to have been able to contribute to this fantastic project.

On October 15 the programme, ‘Prosiect Pum Mil’, will air on S4C showcasing all of the hard work that was put in to creating the sensory garden for the community, don’t miss it.