New £11,000 sensory garden opened for elderly people in Melton

Allen Thwaites, from the Friends of Gretton Court, with special guests who officially opened the new sensory garden at the Melton elderly housing complex EMN-170506-102909001
Allen Thwaites, from the Friends of Gretton Court, with special guests who officially opened the new sensory garden at the Melton elderly housing complex EMN-170506-102909001

Elderly residents of a Melton sheltered housing complex are enjoying visiting a new sensory garden adjacent to their homes after it was paid for from a four-year £11,000 fundraising effort.

The impressive feature, which was officially opened on Saturday, has been designed to stimulate memories and senses and help those suffering from dementia.

Liam McCallion attaches dedicated leaves to a stainless steel willow tree in the new sensory garden at the Melton elderly housing complex EMN-170506-102921001

Liam McCallion attaches dedicated leaves to a stainless steel willow tree in the new sensory garden at the Melton elderly housing complex EMN-170506-102921001

More than 200 dignitaries, councillors, volunteers, fundraisers, staff and residents attending the opening of the garden, which would have cost around £40,000 without the generosity of volunteers and local companies who contributed to creating it.

It features a stunning stainless steel willow memory tree where families can commemorate former residents.

Families of 15 people who used to live there attached memory leaves to the tree at the opening event.

Allen Thwaites, chairman of Friends of Gretton Court, which organised the fundraising, said: “The sensory garden is a place where residents and visitors can experience new sights, smells and sounds to stimulate memories and general well being or they can just rest peacefully and reflect.

“Sensory gardens are proven to benefit overall health but especially help those with dementia.”

Mr Thwaites paid tribute to the ‘massive amount of effort’ which went into the project from volunteers and businesses.

He added: “We believe Gretton Court is a jewel in Melton’s crown and we have fought for it to maintain its status with the county council as a dignified and cost-effective solution for people who need support but do not need full time residential care.

“Their only alternative may be to become isolated in their own home. All families of current and past residents know how special this place is and how special the staff that work there are.”

Part of the money for the project was paid for from the Melton Times Make It Happen community scheme, which is funded by Ragdale Hall.