Sounds, textures and scents fill Larne Adult Centre’s new sensory garden

Warren Smyth from Downtown Radio cuts the ribbon to officially open the new Larne Adult Centre garden. With him is Kim Gault from project funders Asda. INLT 36-323-PR
Warren Smyth from Downtown Radio cuts the ribbon to officially open the new Larne Adult Centre garden. With him is Kim Gault from project funders Asda. INLT 36-323-PR

larne Adult Centre members are now able to make use of a fantastic sensory garden thanks to a generous donation of more than £15,000 from the Asda Foundation.

The charitable trust, established by Asda to support good causes which have gained the direct endorsement from and involvement of the local community, came on board to complete work already started on the garden.

At the official opening of the garden on Friday, Northern Trust daycare locality manager for Larne Adult Centre, Natalie Jackson, said: “Our parents group had started work on the first par tof the garden last year but the donation from the Asda Foundation has completely transformed a vacant concrete patch into a fantastic sensory garden which will enrish the lives of our visitors every day.”

The garden is filled with chimes, mobiles and flowers and presents a wealth of sounds, movement, textures and smells for adults with visual or hearing impairments.

“Sensory stimulus is so important for our visitors and the sensory garden delivers an abundance of exciting sensory experiences for their development and enjoyment. Also having the space completely tarred means the space is smooth and flat, meaning our clients can use their trikes safely.”

The new garden was officially opened by Warren Smyth, singer and Downtown Radio presenter, who said he hoped that the facility would provide many days of enjoyment.

Larne Mayor, Cllr Gerardine Mulvenna, congratulated all concerned in the provision of the new garden and praised the continuing work at Larne Adult Centre, which she described as a very special part of the whole community.

Austin Heatley, chairman of the Friends of Larne Adult Centre, thanked everyone involved in the creation of the garden, which he said would be very much appreciated and put to good use.

Kim Gault, Community Life Champion from Asda, Larne, said: “We’re thrilled that the Asda Foundation has been able to provide such a high level of support to Larne Adult Centre. I visited the centre after they were broken into earlier this year and was so proud of the local community when I saw how much support they had received after such a terrible event.

“I asked them then if they could name one thing which would transform their day-to-day work and they told me that transforming their outdoor area was the number one wish. So we’re delighted to help make that wish come true!”

Julie Ward of the Asda Foundation said: “The Asda Foundation is delighted to be supporting Larne Adult Centre and we are very pleased that this donation has gone to such a worthwhile cause. The centre does such important work in the local community and we look forward to seeing it continue to grow and flourish.”

The donation is the latest strand of Asda’s commitment to local communities with its unique outreach programme, Community Life. Newly-appointed Community Life Champions - like Kim Gault in Larne - will be responsibile for coordinating activity to make the areas around each store better places to live and work for colleagues and customers.