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PLANS for a new sensory garden to be created in the grounds of a Durham Hospice, have been shortlisted to receive a £12,000 grant from the Tesco Bags of Help initiative.

St Cuthbert’s Hospice, Durham, will use the funds to create a fully accessible dementia friendly sensory garden. This unique outdoor space will provide a safe and peaceful environment that encourages gentle physical activity and can help to improve the physical, psychological and spiritual well-being of all palliative care patients at the Hospice.

The new landscaping of the garden will allow all five senses to be stimulated. An abundance of large bright flowers will appeal to the eye. Beautiful scents from flowers and herbs will fill the air. Raised beds will allow soft grasses and foliage to be touched. Edible plants will tantalise the taste buds. Finally, the centre of the garden will host a water feature providing the relaxing sound of running water.

Sylvia Gainford, from Framwellgate Moor, is a day guest at the Hospice who accesses the free of charge services each week. Sylvia says: To me the gardens here at the Hospice are the most peaceful place on the planet. When I first started coming here I was instantly drawn to the outdoor spaces. A friend of mine once said to me, that spending time in a garden can be healing and I truly do believe that. Being able to sit and relax comfortably in the gardens is a joy. The new plans for the sensory garden sound wonderful to me.”

The Tesco initiative, in conjunction with Groundwork, sees three community projects in the region awarded grants of £12,000, £10,000 and £8,000 – all raised from the 5p bag charge. The project with the highest number of votes will receive the top prize. Votes can be cast in four stores in the region; Tesco Extra Dragonville, Durham Market Place, Langley Moor Metro and North Road Express. Customers will be able to show their support for the sensory garden and vote for St Cuthbert’s until 13thNovember.

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