St Matthews Healthcare Sensory Garden – 08 Oct 2020

Sport4Fitness CIC is currently working together with other charities, private companies, local authorities and volunteers to create a sensory garden on site at our facilities at Fernie Fields Sports and Social Club.

We have received a fantastic sponsor ship from St Matthews Healthcare and we will be working hard on the project in the next few weeks.

Our intention is to construct an area where children and young persons with a disability and/or a special need can come and get involved in a sensory garden. We want to see our visitors digging in the planters, placing bulbs, sewing seeds, weeding and watering, picking produce, cutting flowers and eventually eating and cooking some of what they have grown.

We will provide an area with access to all including a large central outdoor classroom/activity centre where we can run all sorts of activities connected with the broad term of gardening as well as sporting, dancing and keep fit activities and with such a large covered area we hope to be able to utilise the facilities all year round.

The Plan

We have produced a plan for the layout of the sensory garden and that can be accessed here.


We are to include an entrance pergola which we hope will be smothered in flowers in the summer months, we are to construct a water feature (or two) and hope that our visitors will be able to try magnet fishing to see what treasures lay beneath!

Our first wooden carved animal, an owl (as yet unnamed) is ready to go on site and we hope eventually to have more carved animals positioned around the garden.

We want all, our visitors to have the opportunity wherever possible to smell, feel, touch, hear and see different aspects of the garden whether it be admiring large sunflower heads, smelling the sweet scent of summer flowers, watching birds on the feeders, hearing the wind blowing a wind chime or rustling a bed of grasses or feeling the water run through their fingers as it flows down the water feature.

Fulfilling the promise of such a project is costly and we will continue to look for funding for the provision of the planter boxes and trugs and the laying of the access to all floor surfaces.

The garden will be a community area for use of many people and we will be inviting senior citizens from local retirement and care homes to come along, join in and where they are able pass on their gardening and plant growing knowledge to younger generations.

With quieter more tranquil areas we hope visitors will come and sit and enjoy the garden around them together with the open spaces and enjoy some light refreshments from our pavilion.

We will post updates here on the website as the project progresses. We are to look at sponsorship ideas where an individual or a group, business or organisation can sponsor the purchase and set-up of a planter or a trug and will advise on this in the near future.

Most of our planters will be constructed from recycled plastic materials providing a number of advantages;

  • No worries re possibility of wood splinters or problems associated with the use of paints or preservatives.
  • No short term maintenance needs or requirements, the planters will be weather proof and rot proof.
  • Easy to clean and sterilise so particularly with Covid 19 in mind all planters made of re-cycled plastic can be wiped down with a cloth and appropriate disinfectant spray between different users thereby maintaining a clean and safe work area.

In time we see the garden as a place of enjoyment, good outside activity, a centre for learning and a community to be welcomed by all.

Exciting New Project for Fernie Fields

Well so far 2020 has proved to be a very challenging year for just about everybody and has caused the cancellation of thousands of projects and events and we as a population are now getting used to living in a different world to the one we lived in in 2019

We at Sport4Fitnes are now looking forward and are adapting so that we can still provide the activities, support and help to local children and young adults with a disability and/or a special need.

Inside gatherings are still restricted and are likely to remain so for the foreseeable future. It is therefore important that we make use of our open spaces and facilitate activities in the fresh air.

This means that we are actively engaged in commencing works to construct our St Matthews Healthcare Sensory Garden. We aim to be able to provide a safe and healthy outdoor space where visitors can get involved in the garden itself, experi-ence nature, plants and wildlife through the senses of sight, touch, smell & hearing and we hope to encourage the growth, harvesting and where possible cooking and eating of things the visitors have grown.

We continually aim to show that ‘everyone can achieve’

Thank You To All Our Helpers & Volunteers

What should we plant?

Some of the suggestions so far are;

  • For vision; Sunflowers, Swiss Chard, Chameleon plant
  • For hearing; Greater Quaking Grass, Fountain Grass
  • For touch; Lambs ears, Silver Sage
  • For smell; Curry Plant, Lavender, Chocolate Cosmos, Lemon Geranium, Oregano, & Thyme
  • Can you suggest some other plants or maybe can you donate some?

Once constructed our outdoor pavilion/garden room/classroom will provide many opportunities for use almost all year round, providing a safe, welcoming area where we can provide classroom activities, the opportunity for visitors to become involved in Pilates or Yoga, where we can erect a screen for videos & movies, have guests provide musical entertainment or just allow the visitors to sit back and relax. This is the single most expensive part of the garden and we need to find approximately £9,000 of funding to construct this space.

We will need soil and compost, watering cans, water butts, hand tools for gardening, artificial grass & materials to make seating areas. Bricks and edging stones for paths.
Can you suggest something you can offer?

Without All Your Support None Of This Is Possible

Water Feature

We aim to include water into our garden for the sensory values it offers and we would like to install a safe, shallow stream where we can incorporate ‘magnet fishing’ allowing visitors to search for items and see what they can hook from under the sand or from between the stones.

Planters and vegetable trugs

We will provide as many raised beds, planters and vegetable troughs as possible to allow all visitors to have access to an area to grow things. We aim to construct these of recycled plastic materials making them safe for all users and dramatically reducing the need to replace due to wear and tear

These vegetable trugs are likely to cost us about £360 each.

Could you buy us one or as a group sponsor one or more of these or a planter or raised bed?

To ensure maximum usage of the large pavilion/outdoor classroom we wish to install electrical (and possibly solar) lighting and provide power to the structure.

For this we will need cable, switches, wall sockets and even possibly some outside heaters.

Building bench seating from timberand/or recycled plastic and artificial grass will provide a durable seating area which will be comfortable and easy to keep clean. Artificial grass can be used as a floor covering which will allow easy movement of wheel chairs when laid onto a solid surface

Enjoying the outdoors

One of the big changes noticed as a result of Covid 19 pandemic is that it is not easy to be able to gather together visitors in any sort of larger numbers and at a time when many people are desperate to get outside and do something.

By creating our sensory garden we feel the benefits will be many. Even when strictly following the advise given to us and ensuring we apply all the socially distancing measures and cleanliness instructions there are many opportunities available for groups or ’bubbles to allow participation in activities together with no additional risks to any of the visitors.

By being outdoors in the fresh air we can provide so much more for so many more visitors

Please support us with this project if you can

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