Mayor opens new sensory garden in Bicester
22 June 2017
There’s a new green spot for older people in Bicester to enjoy, after Cllr Les Sibley unveiled a garden oasis at a Hanover Housing Association estate near the town centre.
During a special afternoon tea - which coincided with The Great Get Together - residents at the appropriately named Hanover Gardens were joined by Maria Urbaniak, Sinthu Murleleetharan and Isla Forsythe, pupils from St Mary’s Catholic Primary School who were presented with awards for producing drawings of their idea of how the gardens could look.
Designed by The Green Company, the landscaped sensory garden has been made possible thanks to an £8,000 grant from the Tesco Bags of Help scheme. That initiative has helped transform the communal area into a place where residents and the local community can relax and socialise.
The new garden benefits from decorative steel arches, lowered brick planters with mixed shrubs and a new seating area with a host of ambient sounds created by a new solar-powered fountain.
Just over three years ago, residents at the Retirement Housing complex were forced to celebrate Christmas away from their homes when the River Bure burst its banks and flooded the estate. As waters surged, emergency services evacuated the residents to safety.
Tracey Dias-Gunawardena, Estate Manager for Hanover, said: 'It’s great to see the garden officially open in time for some glorious summer weather. We’re now looking forward to hosting more garden parties and other outdoor events which will be enjoyed by residents and the local community.
'In addition to the Tesco Bags of Help scheme, I would also like to thank Homebase for the donation of garden benches and plants, Bakels for the celebratory cake, and Coles Books for the book token prizes. Thank you to Callum Hills from Bicester School for his help on the day.'
One of the first residents to take advantage of the new surrounds was 73-year-old Helen Robinson, along with her daughter Debra Rudge. Helen said: 'After the terrible floods a few years ago, we now have a stunning new oasis, which is a real blessing! Our lovely garden which will give visitors a whole range of sensory experiences.'
The new sensory garden will be open throughout the year to give all residents and their families and friends the chance to enjoy the rich aromas and scenery across the seasons.