Sensory garden designed by young people with additional needs

Thu, 19 Jun 2014

Our youth service was awarded funding from the Short Breaks for Disabled Children grant and worked alongside a group of young people to design and develop the garden. The main aim was to appeal to people with a range of additional needs.

As well as flowers, the garden also contains edible fruits and herbs including wild strawberries, chives and rosemary. Young people put forward ideas for additional features such as having a musical instrument in the garden for people to play on their visits.

Knowl Park Nurseries helped to identify suitable plants, flowers and herbs which were safe to touch, had interesting smells to complement each other, and would return again year after year.

Our parks team were key in helping to identify the most appropriate area of Lister Park to create the garden, ensuring its location within the park is fully accessible and easy to find.  

Bradford Environmental Education Service (BEES) worked with the group to help to plan the layout of the garden, which would also bring as much wildlife as possible into the space.

Abu-Sufyan Mohammed, a young person involved in creating the garden, is partially sighted, has Autism and mild learning difficulties. He said: "My idea was for the garden to include frogs. I enjoyed being part of the design and planning, I thought it was great.”

David Cansfield, parks manager, said: "It was important that we chose the right area of the park to develop the garden. We chose an area within the existing Botanical Gardens, which is accessible from the main path, but just off the main route, so that on a busy day in the park, both gardens provide a quiet and tranquil space for people to enjoy.”

Heather Wilson, area youth work manager, said: "The young people wanted to make sure there was something for everyone, so no matter what disability or additional needs you have, you can enjoy the garden. The garden appeals to all the senses; sound, sight, touch, smell and taste.

"Young people can enjoy a picnic, play on the musical instrument, watch the wildlife or simply enjoy a quiet moment away from the main park.”

Councillor Ralph Berry, Executive member for Children's Services, said: "It is wonderful to see young people’s involvement in the design and creation of a sensory garden, which everyone in the district can enjoy. I’d encourage everyone to go down to Lister Park and see the garden this summer.”