Ingol community centre cuts ribbon to open new sensory garden

The Intact centre in Ingol held a grand reopening for its newly renovated sensory garden, after the community hub was granted £30k in environmental funding.

By James Holt
Tuesday, 31st August 2021, 4:17 pm

The centre was awarded the generous grant to create a new and interactive sensory garden by The Lancashire Environmental Fund.

And designed by Preston Paving and Landscaping, who has won a range of awards for their designs which included their display at the Southport Flower Show, the garden now offers a "useful and imaginative" space for service users at Intact.

The area will be used for outdoor cooking experiences, group meetings and one to one sessions, as well as by bee-keeping volunteers and members of the community who are keen gardeners.

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Denise Hartley MBE, Intact Chief Executive Officer, said: "We have created a useful, imaginative place where people can enjoy their surroundings whilst connecting with nature which will enhance their well-being.

"The garden comprises of different areas providing volunteers and staff with opportunities to clear and heal the minds of service users. Each part of the garden that is used will give comfort and help visitors look for positivity in life.

"It was identified that something needed to be done with our existing community garden which was already really good outside space. We wanted to better utilise it for the many services and activities Intact provide.

"Others were interested in getting involved in gardening and mindfulness as well as cooking and pizza and pasta making. Our volunteer counsellors said they would like somewhere they could take their clients to improve their wellbeing.

Denise opened the sensory garden with the support of Intact sponsors

"Staff and volunteers running our cook and eat projects said they would like to be able to use the garden area to do outside barbecues to encourage more cooking by the community.

"Our volunteers said they would love the opportunity to get more involved in looking after the garden enabling them to be more active and our more experienced land management, nature reserve and beekeeping volunteers said the garden would be a great engagement tool for encouraging local people to get more involved in nature.

"This will be such a usable space for activities and events. Anyone unable to access the nature reserve will most certainly enjoy this attractive space if they love nature. It will be a lovely extension to the centre, bringing the outside in."

The centre was recently the recipient of almost £200,000 by the National Lottery Fund to run 'Whitby's Pantry', its food sustainability and affordability scheme for local residents.

The sensory garden was opened by local actor Brian Young last Friday

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And it was also granted a further £214,000 earlier this month from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to develop a new digital heritage project delivering volunteering opportunities at its outdoor nature reserve 'Dobcroft'.

The new garden officially opened last Friday, August 27, at the Whitby Avenue site, where the ribbon was cut in a ceremony to celebrate the new outdoor space.

The sensory garden was developed with a grant from the Lancashire Environmental Fund

After operating locally for almost 30 years, the Intact Centre remains a well-established community hub, offering a range of assets including a discounted food scheme, new sensory garden, IT suite and nearby five-acre ‘nature reserve’.

Denise added: "We are absolutely delighted to have received the support from many funders, sponsors and supporters. The garden will be such a usable space for activities and events and anyone unable to access the nature reserve will most certainly enjoy this attractive space if they love nature."

More information is available at the Intact website.

Denise with the designers of the new garden, Paul and Claudio of Preston Paving