Clifton Gardens gets some "Groundforce" treatment

Volunteers create stunning sensory garden at local care home

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A tired looking patio and surrounding flower beds at a Chiswick care home have been transformed into a beautiful sensory garden thanks to the efforts of a local Buddhist group.

Clifton Gardens residential care home, which is owned by Hounslow Council, specialises in caring for people with dementia. People with this condition react positively to colourful surroundings and having access to a pretty garden is thought to enhance their mood and aid relaxation.

Members of Chiswick Soka Gakkai International, a lay Buddhist organisation, volunteered to spend some time at Clifton Gardens on a project that would benefit residents. The home’s manager, Nick Apetroaie, suggested the patio, flower beds and roof beds needed some attention and offered to contribute £200 worth of new plants towards the project.

So, group members and their children pulled on their gardening gloves and got to work. Just like the television programme “Groundforce”, they transformed a tired space into a glorious oasis.

Mr Apetroaie said “Residents love the garden. Since it was finished, I’ve noticed more of them outside enjoying it. The flowers have been specially chosen so they bloom at different times of the year. It means the garden will be permanently colourful all year round. I would like to express my personal thanks to Soka Gakkai for giving up their time to help us. We all appreciate their efforts.”

In addition to the work at Clifton Gardens, the group painted a new mural at the Fisher’s Lane children’s playground, which is opposite the care home.

Moira Cameron, a spokesperson for Soka Gakkai, said “It was an absolute pleasure to be able to contribute towards the replenishment of the sensory gardens and repainting of the mural at the playground. It has really enhanced the older people's lifestyle and enabled them to sit outside and enjoy the vibrant colours and vivid smells, so important especially to those residents suffering from dementia. We will all get old one day and to see the difference this has made to the residents of Clifton Gardens really touched our hearts, making us realise how important it is to strive to create value whenever possible for people within our local community.”


July 25, 2006