Disability centre reopens garden after artificial grass theft
News | Rhys Williams | Published: 11:25, Thursday February 28th, 2019.
A disability centre in Caerphilly has opened its new garden area after thieves stole artificial grass from the site last year.
TouchBase Cymru, which is based on Caerphilly Business Park and operated by charity Sense , was helped by local businesses to restore its sensory garden.
Kate Wright, Resource Manager at TouchBase Cymru said: “When we opened, we did not have any outdoor space for our service users to have a therapeutic sensory experience. Our only space outside was extremely overgrown and unsafe to use.
“A group of volunteers kindly donated their time to help us clear the area and level it off for an artificial lawn. We finally had a tranquil outdoor space full of plants and herbs to create a sensory experience.
“Only six months after the work was completed, disaster struck and a large section of the grass was stolen overnight. Despite a plea on social media we did not locate our missing grass.
“A local maintenance company, AFM, kindly offered to restore and renovate the area for us. They used their contacts to obtain equipment free of charge and they donated their labour time for no cost.
“Thanks to them we now have our garden back and it is a safe and tranquil space again.”
Neil Bevan, operations manager at AFM, which is based in Bedwas, told Caerphilly Observer: “We wanted to help out a local charity.
“We’ve worked with Sense before and had a phone call that someone had stolen the grass, so we decided to do it for a good cause.”
The garden now has artificial grass, colourful railings, plant pots and wind chimes, as well as bird boxes.
A frog-themed water fountain has also been placed in the garden to remember James O’Neill, a user of the centre who sadly passed away recently.
Mrs Wright said: “We are so grateful to AFM and Pugh’s Garden Centre for kindly donating their time and resources to making our sensory garden great again.
“An outdoor space is so important for people with a sensory impairment as they can access so many of their senses at once. Running water mixed with the smell of lavender and the wind blowing in someone’s face is priceless. The support of AFM and others has allowed us to revamp this area and we can run activities outside once more.”
TouchBase Cymru opened in Caerphilly in March 2016 and offers daycare for people with complex disabilities such as learning difficulties, cerebral palsy and visual and hearing impairments.
The centre employs 35 members of staff and has roughly 30 people use the service each day.