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Dedicated teenagers create new sensory garden

​People with learning disabilities and mental health issues who are receiving care from Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) can now enjoy a new sensory garden thanks to the generosity of a group of Ipswich teenagers.

The 12-strong group of 16 and 17-year-olds have spent the past week transforming the outside space at Walker Close into a sensory garden with raised beds which inpatients receiving care on the wards can enjoy.

As part of the National Citizen Service (NCS) initiative, the group have painted the fences, made benches from pallets and added new planting, copper chimes and astroturf for extra texture, along with a variety of features such as a board filled with pine cones and sticks.

The group designed the garden themselves and raised £250 to pay for the make-over by asking their families for sponsorship.

Jacquie Knott, Deputy Service Manager for Acute Learning Disability Services with NSFT, said: "We are really grateful that this dedicated group decided to do something special for our patients. The garden make-over has made a real difference and has transformed our outside space.

"People with learning disabilities can really benefit from sensory stimulation. This garden will provide our inpatients with a therapeutic space to help them feel at ease and aid their recovery whilst at Walker Close. In addition, it will also be a great place for family, carers and friends to enjoy when they come to visit, and will offer an attractive and calming alternative to our ward."

The garden will be used by the two adult wards at Walker Close, which offer assessment and treatment for managing challenging behaviour and acute and chronic mental health conditions. Families, carers and staff will also be able to enjoy the space.

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