An OGV grant supported Alkira to create a sensory garden in their newly built community Hub.
Whilst we couldn't physically open gardens during lockdown last year, our Giving Program sub-committee were still very busy supporting worthwhile horticultural projects through our Giving Program. Each year, OGV supports many wonderful projects by providing much needed funds and in kind support.
One project which gained OGV support was the wonderful not for profit organisation — Alkira.
Alkira has been providing services and support to people with an intellectual disability since 1954. Last year Alkira built a new Springfield Community Hub to support people with a disability as they age. This new hub aims to be a multisensory environment that is an engaging space for people to explore. The building was co-designed with people who have an intellectual disability to ensure this space meets all their wants and needs. An exciting component of this is the creation of a sensory garden. OGV was delighted to support this initiative through our Giving Program.
The sensory garden is a place for people to step outside and experience different sights, sounds, smells and textures. The garden will be planted and maintained by the many participants in Alkira's programs. It will be a space for learning gardening skills as well as a calming retreat for time out. Research conducted by Alkira showed that sensory stimulation improves a person’s cognition, mood and general wellbeing. It will include plants, a water feature and some garden art. Some of the plants the sensory garden will feature include:
- Native Iris (Patersonia occidentalis)
- Winter Daphne (Daphne odora)
- Native Violet (Viola hederacea)
- New Zealand Rock Lily (Arthropodium cirratum)
- Kangaroo Grass (Themeda triandra)
- Clivia miniata (Clivia miniata)
- Giant Mondo Grass (Ophiopogon jaburan)
- Knobby Club Rush (Ficinia nodosa)
- Common Everlasting Daisy (Chrysocephalum apiculatum).
These plants were chosen for their visual stimulation, texture, smell and diversity.
The vision for this project began almost nine years ago and Alkira Fundraising Manager Shelley Streeton said,
"The Giving Grant from OGV is helping us achieve our vision for the Springfield Community Hub as we’ve created this amazing outdoor area where people with intellectual disabilities are improving their gardening skills and botanical knowledge. Alkira participants take care of the garden which has given them an opportunity to become more independent. It is also a separate, calming space for participants to de-stress away from others, and if they are feeling overwhelmed or have sensory overload, this is the perfect spot to take a break. Without the grant from OGV, this space would not have been nearly as welcoming nor serene."
Here at OGV, we are glad to support Alkira which provides another opportunity for us to encourage the love of gardening in the greater community.
The OGV Giving Program opens each year in September, keep an eye on our website and socials for more information.
** The Springfield Hub was officially launched in March of this year, recognizing OGV as a supporter. The sensory garden is a work in progress with participants of Alkira’s programs to plant and maintain the garden.