Our first 'Total Environments' project was to design and make a complete garden environment, for Footsteps Nursery in Oswestry, working with staff, parents, and the children, on a sensory garden for the nursery.
The second project was to transform the courtyard at Castle Lodge in Telford.
The Project Group was commissioned by the Arts and Health Officer from our local NHS trust, the South Staffordshire and Shropshire Mental Health NHS Trust, to work with clients and staff to transform the courtyard at Castle Lodge. Castle Lodge is a nurse-led community alternative to hospital, for adults with mental health problems.
The project was to transform the dark and dreary space into a welcoming area for summer barbeques, outdoor conversation and a quiet place to sit in.
The theme, "The Mediterranean", was chosen by the Castle Lodge residents. Over 3 months, 12 Project Group members were involved, working with staff and residents. Together we designed and created a large mural, painted paving stones with words from a creative writing workshop, revamped outside tables, applied a flock of birds flying around the courtyard and a planted areas.
This was a new experience for Project Group members, to create a whole environment, and everyone gained a lot. It was great to see the varied responses of the Castle Lodge clients. We were invited to their Christmas celebrations to open the courtyard.
We are hoping this project will open up more possibilities to work with the Arts and Health Team at the Trust.
Comments about the courtyard were very positive:
"I think it is a joy to see such beautiful art work. It was lovely to participate in the art. Good work."
"The new courtyard looks great and will give many hours of pleasure for all to see."
"A great improvement. Bright, colourful and very cheering – a lot of hard work for the people. I enjoyed watching and learning and sharing my poetry."
"Just like the real thing! The people who created it are amazing. I’d like to be involved in the New Year."
"A very worthwhile project. It looks very good. Its very tidy."
The Project Group was commissioned to design and create a sensory garden for the local nursery by Walford and North Shropshire College. We worked closely with the nursery from the beginning, working out a funding strategy and managed to secure money to pay for this new educational play area.
The project was to increase the garden area of the nursery by approximately 90 square metres, to include a sloping grass area, which had been just outside the parameter of the site.
We organised a consultation with parents, put up a comments box at the nursery for carers and families, and worked with designs from children to create an exciting, stimulating new play area for the children.
The new sensory garden includes: