Sensory garden and trail opens at ECOS
Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor William McCaughey, has officially opened a new Sensory Garden and Sensory Trail at Ecos Nature Park.
Speaking at the launch, Cllr McCaughey said: “This garden has transformed a disused space and created a community garden for people with a wide range of needs to enjoy.
“As well as a communal growing space, it contains specific areas to meet a range of needs - quiet, sensory, active - and wild areas to enhance biodiversity. The garden includes a storytelling area, wooden fort, willow tunnel and hedge, raised beds for food growing, fruit trees, and a range of sensory planting. The garden was originally designed by The Northern Area Autism Reference Group to ensure it was representative of a range of needs. The garden and all its features was then built by The Conservation Volunteers and the Friends of Ecos volunteers. Its been real community effort and I would like to thank all involved for their valuable input.”
Council has worked in partnership with the Northern Health and Social Care Trust (NHSCT) to fund and support the garden. Jayne Colville (NHSCT) said: “Gardening or spending time outside in the tranquil setting of a garden can help reduce high anxiety levels and the sensory nature of a garden can engage senses without being overwhelming. We hope a range of groups will make use of the garden for health and wellbeing benefits and we welcome any interested groups to make contact.”
Council have also been working with Disability Sport NI and Live Active NI to develop a Sensory Trail on site. Niall Irwin, Get Out Get Active Officer from Live Active NI who is based in the council area, from Disability Sport NI, said: “We were delighted to work with Council on this initiative. The trail encompasses a 30 minute route around the south side of the site. We hope this trail will provide enjoyment for many families over the coming months and years.”