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Community built garden opens in Solihull

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A brand new sensory garden was unveiled today at Tivoli Court, which provides supported accommodation to adults with learning difficulties.

Built by volunteers from Bromford Support as well as other major local businesses such as the NEC Group, the garden was officially opened by the Mayor of Solihull, Councillor Ken Hawkins, who said “This new sensory garden will really bring the community together. It is wonderful that it supports independent living and there should be more places like Tivoli Court.”

Residents of Tivoli Court were also involved in the construction of the garden, which includes features designed to attract wildlife and create sound including bird baths, mirrors, seating areas, a vegetable patch, a green house to help grow plants and seeds, as well as textured floors and plant beds.

The garden project has enabled Bromford customers to shape their own community, with residents helping to choose the plants and features in the garden. They also took the chance to name the new garden, choosing to call it 'Tranquilo", meaning garden of peace.

At the party today, one resident Steve said, “the staff at Tivoli Court are magnificent and our new garden is somewhere we can really relax and get away from it all.”

The garden will offer customers the opportunity to escape the hustle and bustle of the nearby town centre by sitting amongst the plants, experiencing the peaceful sounds to help them unwind and relax.  It will also provide the opportunity for residents to learn about creatures that can be found in the garden, and learning how to grow their own vegetables.

Helen Horsfall, Bromford Support Service Manager, has been looking to enhance the buildings grounds since it opened in 2010.

"We applied to 'You Can', a charity run by Bromford, for some money to help us design and create a garden to enable customers to have that tranquil space to escape it all. We also wanted a way to attract more wild life into the garden and wanted to encourage residents to 'grow their own' so included a large vegetable patch and green."

Helen believes the project wouldn't have been a success if it weren't for the support provided by many local businesses, who supported the project when bad weather caused delays. "Newlands Bishop Farm, a scheme that offers work placements for adults with learning disabilities, have been attending Tivoli Court every week working hard to develop and create the sensory garden.

"We started work in April but due to the bad weather it has taken longer than expected to complete. We were forced to appeal for volunteers to come and help and we had a great response. The NEC Group provided us with whole teams, and we also had help from Adecco in Solihull. Shirley Police were also involved and of course, many colleagues within Bromford gave up their time to help with this project."