Glenrothes sensory garden for kids with disabilities sees improvements

(L-R) Service manager Jacqui Kirk with Glen Housing Association director Anne Dickie and trainee Fei Zheng.
(L-R) Service manager Jacqui Kirk with Glen Housing Association director Anne Dickie and trainee Fei Zheng.
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A Glenrothes respite centre for children with disabilities will have an improved garden to enjoy next year, thanks to a local housing association, reports MIKE DELANEY.

McNally House, which is part of the Fife Short Breaks service operated by Aberlour Child Care Trust, will have a brand new sensory garden installed.

The house, which is in the Collydean area of Glenrothes and named after the late Jack McNally, an influential figure in the early years of the town, is owned and maintained by Glen Housing Association.

Inspired by the young people who use the service, its staff decided to apply for £9,000 of lottery funding from Awards For All Scotland, to create an interactive wildlife and sensory garden.

Their bid was successful and work is set to begin on the project early in 2012.

FSB service manager, Jacqui Kirk, said: “We couldn’t ask for better support from a landlord – everyone at Glen has been wonderful to us over the years.

“Nothing is too much trouble and they expertly look after our property with real care, which means we can concentrate on providing the best possible service to our young people.

“Now Glen staff have truly gone above and beyond, by securing funding to install an interactive sensory garden which our young people are going to love.

“We are so grateful for everything they have done for us.”

The young people who use the service will play an instrumental part in planning the garden by offering their opinions on what they would like to see grown there.

Once complete, they will be able to learn a variety of things including about growing herbs, fruits and vegetables for cooking; organic gardening, companion planting and edible flowers; how to recognise wildflowers; how to plant seeds; how to maintain a garden and collecting vegetables.

They will also be able to take part in cooking and tasting activities such as jam-making, as well as other creative activities including making hanging baskets.

Glen trainee, Fei Zheng, has consulted with experienced local wildlife and herb gardener, Elspeth Killin, to help with the plans, and is looking forward to starting work soon.

Glen director, Anne Dickie, said: “As the landlord of this childcare charity, we are very happy to help the trust to develop this idea into reality and to allow their services to help more people and provide more varied activities.

“We would love to see the children who live there, with supervision from a professional garden therapist assistant, be able to plant their own plants, see them grow, taste the vegetables and fruits and take something back home.”