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Revamped garden opens at respite unit

A respite unit for adults with learning disabilities had its dramatically re-vamped garden officially opened by the Mayor on Tuesday, June 19.

The wheelchair swing is the only aspect of the old garden that can be recognised in the refurbished space in Allenby Road.

Karen Woolford, the registered manager of the four-bedroom facility, described the garden before the make-over.

She said: “We kept it as best we could but now we have more complex needs people who weren’t able to use it as much. It was beginning not to be fit for purpose.”

A capital bid put in by the unit to the Berkshire Healthcare Foundation Trust made the garden transformation possible.

Steven Francis , from the trust, designed the multi-faceted garden in collaboration with the knowledgeable staff so that the varied needs of the users were provided for.

A summerhouse doubles as a sensory room that can be blacked out for colourful lights to be projected onto the walls, and become a place where residents can listen to music or have peer group meetings.

Foliage in the garden feature an array of colours, plants with different textures and smells and pampas grasses that rustle in the wind.

Karen added: “It’s far, far better than I thought it was going to be.”

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