Funded by the Department for Communities’ Access and Inclusion Programme and Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, the £30,000 garden will be a therapeutic and calming outdoor sanctuary for children and adults with autism, dementia and other sensory needs. This sensory garden is the second one in the Borough, with Hazelbank Sensory Garden opening last year.
The cleverly designed garden has transformed the former bowling green area and now features new 2m pathways for easy access, sensory shrubs planted on raised beds as well as play equipment including wind chimes, stepping logs, balance beams, musical instruments and mirrors to stimulate the senses. Perfectly positioned benches also help its visitors to relax and admire the views of the garden.
The Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Alderman Stephen Ross commented,
“I’m privileged to be launching this new sensory garden in Antrim, it’s truly a wonderful asset that will greatly improve the physical fitness, health, and mood of children and adults with autism, dementia and other sensory needs. I am confident visitors to the garden will feel very happy and relaxed here.”
Communities Minister, Deirdre Hargey said,
“My Department’s Access and Inclusion Programme is designed to help promote a more inclusive society by improving accessibility at arts, cultural and active recreation venues for people with disabilities who often have limited opportunities to participate in activities that many of us take for granted.
“I am aware of the many benefits that sensory gardens can provide particularly for children with learning difficulties and special needs and I welcome this addition to the facilities available at Antrim Castle Gardens.”
This garden is another step towards making our facilities and services more accessible. The Council’s leisure centres will soon be running ‘Quiet Hour’ sessions for those with similar needs, offering swimming and soft play sessions. For more information on our inclusive activities, please visit antrimandnewtownabbey.gov.uk/accessibility