Home » Sensory garden project nears completion

Sensory garden project nears completion

Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 14.04.03
Charles (L): With Cllr Collier and volunteers

THE PARENT of a former Mount Airey Nursery and Infant school pupil has shown his thanks to the school by building a sensory garden within the grounds.

Charles Young started work on the garden at the beginning of December, and hopes that it will open in the February half-term. Mount Airey Learning Resource Centre is for children with special educational needs, and the overall aim of the centre is to ensure that pupils gain access to a broad, balanced and relevant education, while having their exceptional needs met in as inclusive a way as possible.

Charles told The Herald that the LRC had been ‘fantastic’ for his son, who was non-verbal autistic when he started attending the Centre, but made great progress during his time there. “He’s come on in leaps and bounds,” he added. “As a thank-you, I put forward the idea of a sensory garden after speaking to Mrs O’Brian the head teacher, and it went from there.”

Charles told us that the aim of the sensory garden is to provide opportunities for the pupils, many of whom have highly complex needs, to access the outdoor environment in a ‘safe, engaging, and multi-sensory manner.’ Fundraising for the project began last year, when the sensory garden was picked as the local charity to benefit from the Herald Charity Sea Angling Festival.

Charles has been involved with this event since it began, and has already raised funds for Clic Sargent and the Cleft Lip and Palate Association in previous years. “We chose these charities because we knew people affected with these conditions, but this year we decided to be a bit more hands-on,” he added. Since starting work on the garden in early December, Charles has been joined by local businessmen Lawrence Drake and Byron Thomas-Jenkins: “I’d like to thank Byron for his dedication and time, and Lawrence for his expertise and knowledge,” Charles said. The three of them have made major progress, clearing the 38’ by 42’ patch, building paths and fences, and levelling the ground.

Charles also thanked John Loring for his assistance. However, the project has suffered as a consequence of the constant rain and gales which seem to have constantly affected the county over recent weeks, and Charles said that any volunteers would be more than welcome! If they are working near the school on schooldays, they will need Enhanced Disclosure Checks and a CSCS card, but these are not necessary for weekend work. Since work began, a number of local businesses have sponsored the project, by providing, materials, machinery, or their time free of charge.

Bolton Hill Quarry has offered to provide stone chippings and materials for a rockery, and Pembrokeshire Paint has donated several tins of paint to the project. A local resident has even offered them space to store their tools. The children at Mount Airey School have played an active role in designing the garden, and all pupils have been involved. Ideas have been collected from each class in the school and put into plan by the school council. “They have been really involved with this,” Charles told us. “I’m hoping to get the children to draw something, and then enlarge it into a mosaic.” Haverfordwest Mayor Sue Murray and County Councillor Jonathan Collier have been among those who have pledged their support for this project, and Ms Murray will be visiting the gardens this week.

Anyone who would like to donate their time or materials to this project should contact Charles on 07811 540 310.