A garden retreat opens for dementia sufferers

One Warwick Park 2

More than 20 volunteers have made a series of winning moves by completing two projects including restoring a giant chess set at the Tonbridge Angel Community Garden.

Businesses and residents teamed up to raise more than £5,000 towards the scheme, which included landscaping improvements in the Angel Centre area.

The chess set’s restoration to its former glory by Tonbridge Community Gardeners coincides with development of an adjoining sensory garden, designed by the Building Dementia Friendly Tonbridge group.

This scheme has helped transform an unloved corner of the garden into a dedicated site for dementia sufferers. It will feature a wide range of herbs and flowers to provide a calming and much-improved environment.

Resident Fred Long, one of the volunteers, said it was great that so many people had given their time for the scheme.

He said: “Volunteers from businesses and the community have come together to work on the garden and rebuild the chess board, which has really helped brighten up the area.

“There have been lots of people involved in the project, which has been organised by Christine Parker, of Abbey Funerals in Tonbridge,” he added.

Billie Negus, a volunteer who has been helping with the sensory garden and who is also a member of the Building Dementia Friendly Tonbridge group, said: “It has been amazing what has been achieved with the group so far.

“I think the sensory garden will make a real difference to dementia suffers in Tonbridge. The herbs and flowers we have planted will help those who are visually impaired recall memories of flower scents.”

The group had also staged events themed around memories including a wartime exhibition of personal recollections held at Tonbridge Library.

The project will be formally opened on May 21st to coincide with National Dementia Awareness Week.

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