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Local residents look to transform space into sensory garden with Tesco Bags of Help grant

31 October 2016

Residents from a retirement housing estate in Bicester - who were evacuated from their homes on Christmas Eve in 2013 due to severe flash flooding - have been nominated for funding as part of the Tesco Bags of Help Grant Programme.

The nomination is largely thanks to Hanover Housing Association’s Estate Manager Tracey Dias-Gunawardena, who in consultation with residents has come up with exciting plans to turn an area of the grounds within the estate into a sensory garden where older people can come to relax, get fit and socialise.

Three years ago some 60 residents from Hanover Gardens, Manorsfield were forced to celebrate Christmas away from their homes when the River Bure burst its banks and flooded the estate. Although the estate was repaired and personal possessions were replaced, residents are keen to put the memory of the floods to rest by creating a stunning outdoor space to help improve their health and wellbeing.

Tracey Dias-Gunawardena said: ‘We are delighted to have been shortlisted for the Tesco Bags of Help grant. If we're successful we hope to breathe life into our raised flowerbeds that currently are in need of some TLC. We also wish to create a sensory area with seating where residents can enjoy an area of garden which will also be accessible to our less able residents.’

It is hoped that the sensory area will be open throughout the year to give all visitors an opportunity enjoy a range of sounds, textures and perfumes across the seasons. 

Ms Dias-Gunawardena said: ‘We also hope to add some new garden furniture, creating areas for our residents, family and friends. We would encourage other retirement estates to also come together with us to chat and socialise in beautiful surroundings. If we were lucky enough to receive the right level of funding, then we want to go even further by creating an outdoor gym that can help promote healthy living and exercise for our local community.’

Voting in Tesco stores in Bicester will run from 31 October to 13 November. 

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