Next month marks what would have been the 100th birthday of Leonard Cheshire – the founder of a disability charity which supports people not only in Fife but around the world.
And to celebrate the milestone, Fifers are invited to take part in a unique challenge to raise money for a very worthy local cause.
Staff at Leonard Cheshire Disability Fife will host a firewalk on Saturday, September 9, at the centre in Glenrothes to raise funds for a sensory garden for people who use the service as well as the wider community.
Stuart Robertson, Scotland director, said: “The Fife FireWalk – the first of its kind for Leonard Cheshire Disability Fife and Scotland – is important for us to raise much needed funds for the Green Hands project.
“This aims to renovate the existing garden at Glamis House in Glenrothes and create a sensory/community garden which will cost around £25,000.
“We have so far received support from residents’ family and friends and from both Fife Council and Fife Charities Trust, but we still have more than £10,000 to raise to meet our target.”
The sensory/community garden is being created with the help of volunteers, family and friends of the people who use the Glenrothes service but local people are also mucking in to help.
It will offer a stimulating yet calming space for therapy and education, recreation and leisure. Its facilities will be used to aid concentration and memory abilities in a fun and focused environment.
Stuart said the Green Hands project will help to improve social interaction for people with disabilities and help them to engage more with others.
Those involved in the project will help design the layout of the garden and activity areas; build infrastructure for wheelchair friendly pathways; develop activity areas including raised beds so that people in wheelchairs can work in and experience the garden more fully.
They will also construct a garden room outdoors to support people to garden in all weathers, with seating and barbecue areas; plant seeds and plants for the garden with an emphasis on those that are aromatic, colourful and attractive to wildlife as well as vegetables and herbs.
There will also be a wildlife aspect using plants and other features to attract butterflies, birds and bees.
Stuart said: “Green Hands will be a safe haven for individuals who have been socially excluded from everyday life.
“The garden will afford these individuals the opportunity to calm heightened emotions and focus on self-fulfilling activities such as growing vegetables and fruit.
“Green Hands will enhance the lives of people at Glamis House who are unable to easily venture out into the community because of the level of their disability, but who really want to be able to.
“The garden will have designated areas for a sensory garden, flower and vegetable growing, barbecue, shaded seating and activity areas.
“Various interactive features in the sensory garden such as a water feature, wind chimes, plants, flowers, wildlife and reflective sculptures will offer something different to each resident. It will stimulate, engage and enhance all of the senses.”
He said the community garden would improve both the lives of people with disabilities supported by Glamis House, as well as carers, staff and the
wider family and community.
Meanwhile, a number of national activities have been planned to mark the centenary of Leonard Cheshire’s birth.
These include sponsored challenges, coffee mornings and open days. Another of its Fife services, based in Rosyth, is holding a sponsored walk along the Forth Bridge on September 1.
The firewalk will take place at Leonard Cheshire Disability, Glamis House in Blair Avenue, Glenrothes, on September 9 starting at 6pm with an introductory talk.
There is no need to train for it and anyone aged over 16 can take part.
Registration is £20 plus £100 sponsorship.
For more details, visit www.leonardcheshire.org/Scotland.
Who was Leonard Cheshire?
Leonard Cheshire died in 1992 after almost half a century of humanitarian work supporting disabled people around the world.
In 1948, he opened his home to Arthur Dykes – a disabled veteran dying of cancer who had nowhere else to go. Others then came to him for support, so Leonard Cheshire Disability began in his own home. By the end of 1955 he had established five Cheshire projects in the UK and founded the first overseas service in Mumbai, India. By 1970, with 50 UK services and a presence in 21 other countries, he began to pioneer community based projects. To this day more than 200 organisations in 54 countries bear his name.