£12,000 for sensory garden project after shoppers' vote

02 December 2016
Staff and volunteers at Demelza are celebrating after gaining a £12,000 grant to create a sensory garden.

The charity was successful in a bid for £8,000 as part of Tesco’s Bags of Help initiative but had a chance to up the money to £10,000 or £12,000 as part of a vote in store.

Voting ran in three Tesco stores in Sittingbourne and the superstore in Faversham from 31 October to 13 November – with customers choosing which local project they would like to get the top award using a token given to them at the check out.

Demelza got the most number of votes so was successful in gaining the biggest award.
Work on transforming the green area will now start in January 2017 and aims to be finished in July 2017.

The sensory garden will see a pond, two bridges, themed plants and decorations to create a Chinese water garden. A pagoda already on site will be refurbished and a burner added with incense, linking to the sensory theme. The pond will link to an enchanted forest area where there will be a woodland house, swamp area, toadstools, sensory lighting as well as some seating areas.

The £12,000 grant will see Demelza putting up a partition around the new sensory garden to help the children using the area feel more part of the surroundings, disguising neighbouring storage sheds and allotments. Larger plants could be purchased and the gardens used for music and art therapy. A range of additional musical instruments will also be bought.

Demelza gardener Mark Blackman said: “The Gardening Team at Demelza are absolutely delighted to have been awarded £12,000 by the Groundwork and Tesco's Bags of Help scheme. The grant will allow us to refurbish a large area of the children’s garden that has been inaccessible to our wheelchair users. We can’t wait to create a multi-sensory area that will delight and stimulate the children, young people and families. We hope they are looking forward to spending time together in this new and exciting environment.”

Gardening Assistant Alison Davies added: “Everyone at Demelza would like to thank the shoppers who voted in the stores, Groundwork and Tesco. Your support will enable us to undertake this project.”

Lindsey Crompton, Head of Community at Tesco, said: “Bags of Help has been a fantastic success.

“We been overwhelmed by the response of our customers and it’s been great to give people a say on how the money will be spent in their community. We can’t wait to see the projects come to life.”