Sweet smell of success for Sensory Garden

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News release: 10 July 2009

St Albans City and District Council’s Clarence Park Sensory Garden has been listed as a runner up in the Diversity Achievement of the Year category in the MJ Achievement Awards 2009, local government’s version of the Oscars.

Sensory Garden, Clarence Park, St Albans Picture caption: Members of the community participate in the planting.

The garden, which was created in 2008 with the aim of catering to the varied needs of people from diverse ethnic backgrounds and the young and disabled, has been a huge success having also come runner up in the East of England Equality Awards 2008.

The concept of a sensory garden was developed following a consultation of the diverse local community that had identified the need for a quiet, reflective space.

The council appointed Groundwork Hertfordshire to lead the project and £18,000 in funding was provided by Lafarge Aggregates.

Work started on the Sensory Garden in April 2008 and once the groundwork was completed in June, those residents who had participated in the design process were invited along to help with the planting of herbs, banana plants and other flora and fauna specially selected for their scent and feel.

Cllr Sheila Burton, portfolio holder for sport and healthy living at St Albans City and District Council, said: “This was a real community effort. The garden was planted in raised beds that are easily accessible to wheelchair users. Local children helped choose plants that are easily identified by either the shape of their leaf or their smell to help visually impaired visitors. Local ethnic groups helped design a quiet sitting area for young mums.”

Member contact:
Cllr Sheila Burton, portfolio holder for sport and healthy living at St Albans City and District Council
Tel: 01727 863598

Contact for the press:
Amanda Wilkinson, communication officer
St Albans City and District Council
Tel: 01727 819317 E-mail: amanda.wilkinson@stalbans.gov.ukwww.stalbans.gov.uk

• Clarence Park was a gift to the people of St Albans, from a local benefactor, in 1894. It was laid out in two distinct areas: a 16 acre sports ground and a 9 acre recreation ground. The park was awarded a Heritage Lottery grant in 1997, one of the first ever made. This grant allowed the Council to refurbish many of the original park features, including replacing the park’s bandstand on its original site.
• The Council successfully achieved Green Flag status for the park, (which is a measure of excellence), and the park now has three Green Flags, and aims to make it four in 2009.
• The District Council approached the consultation through a partnership with the Green Heart Partnership (GHP), which is an initiative between the Arts Council of England – Eastern Region, and all the local authorities in Hertfordshire. The team from the Council covered a variety of areas including: parks and green spaces, anti-social behaviour, equalities, landscape and countryside, and finally housing and communities.