Sensory centre's appeal for volunteers to take on garden projects

Preston's Space Centre has seen its vibrant gardens turn overgrown and to a state of disrepair during lockdown and are hoping a donation of gardening equipment will encourage new volunteers to get involved.

Friday, 31st July 2020, 12:48 pm
The gardens at the Space Centre.

The unique sensory centre, on Pedders Lane, Ashton-on-Ribble, are on the lookout for volunteers to help with the upkeep of their large gardens.

Fundraiser Andrea Bake said she is planning for volunteers to form a gardening group to maintain the outside space and aid in developing new ideas for the sensory garden.

She said: "We are looking for individuals and local businesses to be involved with volunteering days in helping us. During Covid-19, we have been closed for a number of weeks so the garden has been left to wreck and ruin and the grass was knee high.

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Volunteer jobs will involve weeding, planting and mowing the grass.

"Our gardens have always been looked after by Kirkham prison but they are now unable to come until 2021 because of coronavirus. Going forward, we are wanting regular volunteers to be able to enjoy the gardens and suggest creative ideas for the space to form a real team effort."

The sensory specialists at The Space Centre have already begun planning for the new developments, which will introduce raised flower beds, a platform with a ramp for disabled access and wheelchair friendly benches to enable those with physical disabilities to use all aspects of the gardens.

"It is a lovely peaceful garden that is amazing for stress relief and enjoying the outdoors. We are getting lots of interest from people coming forward and wanting to help out, and hope that we would be able to organise a socially distanced meeting with volunteers," said Andrea.

Zebra Technologies of Pittman Way, Fulwood, are donating £300 worth of new gardening equipment to the centre in order to help the volunteers carry out various jobs like lawn mowing, planting and weeding.

Andrea hopes that the developments will encourage visitors to use the outdoor space.

Steve Blackburn, head of the Community Relations team at Zebra Technologies responded to the Space Centre's Facebook appeal for volunteers and chose to volunteer his time and new equipment.

He said: "Zebra technologies provide us with four days volunteer leave each year. After I saw their post looking for help, I thought it was a good and safe option to be involved with volunteering outside because of the Covid-19 situation.

"We are getting a range of new gardening tools for the Space Centre, up to the value of £300. I am glad to be able to get involved because no volunteer work has been carried out recently because of the pandemic, and it is great to get out there and help out."

Steve and his team at Zebra Technologies have previously been involved in volunteering at St Catherine's hospice and have donated tools to help Preston's Foxton Centre in their social enterprise scheme in helping the homeless.

In the future, Andrea hopes the gardens will be enjoyed by families, commenting: "In the future, we are planning to open on Sundays and have our sensory equipment open for families to use with both special needs and non special needs children. I want us to make real use of the gardens going forward."

The hand over of the new donated gardening equipment from Zebra technologies will happen on August 7.

Anyone wanting to be involved with volunteering at the Space Centre can call 01772 760403 or email at [email protected]