Nigel Smith – Coombe House
For years we had talked about having a sensory area in the garden. The benefits were obvious to us all; everybody could enjoy the garden in ways not previously experienced such as scent, texture, sound and colour and the ability to access space otherwise rarely used.
The thing is when you actually begin to look at such a project it can be very daunting; the lack of experience and the costs and planning involved.
Our previous attempts at better use of the garden had included the development of a ‘Garden of Remembrance’ for people who have previously lived at Coombe House, a service user purchased his own greenhouse for his interest and experience and then the building of our first raised bed from monies raised through ‘Friends of Coombe House’
Mindful of these successes and with the help of staff and friends and contacts I approached St John’s church being aware of their ability to fund local projects.
Meeting with a representative of the church Mr Peter Salmon on a couple of occasions he encouraged me to think ‘bigger’ in formally planning the garden. Together we met a landscape gardener and developed a plan.
I knew the planting was going to be the least of our worries and that the bulk of the cost would be on materials and labour for the structural work.
The initial quote was £7000/£8000 and within ‘Friends of Coombe’ we only had a fraction of this cost. St Johns church were very kindly willing to fund some of the venture and for the remainder fundraising was to be the way forward.
A great deasl of effort went into exploring idea’s which culminated into our Garden Party event.
The event despite the terrible weather was a great success and on the day Peter Salmon presented us with a cheque for £4000 from the churches trust fund, together with the funds raised from the Garden Party we were getting closer to the initial quote.
We were then however provided a name of a local trusted contractor by St Johns church, within two months and despite the weather the structural work was complete.
So….. after years of thinking and talking about it we achieved the bilk of our work in just a few months.
It just goes to show its amazing what you can do if you put your mind to it.
The question is now, WHAT NEXT?!!!!
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