Nairn's wonderful tribute to Ronnie!
The people we support in our Nairn services were asked to vote on what they would like to see their share of the organisation’s Participatory Funding used for this year. They voted to create a garden area at the rear of our office to enable them meet up whenever they wished. They were struggling to maintain contact with each other due to COVID-19 and wanted to have somewhere quiet to sit and have a chat and a drink, read a newspaper and do some colouring in. The garden was unloved and unused and was full of weeds and tree stumps and everyone recognised the potential that this area offered.
So, the work began! Everyone muddled in and got rid of the weeds and old tree stumps before having it re-laid with stone chips. The next task was to decide what garden furniture, plants and other accessories were needed to allow the space to become a sensory garden. The people we support went with staff to select picnic benches, a garden bench and free standing plant boxes. These were selected from Cantray Bridge College (a college for individuals with learning difficulties) and were hand crafted to specifications agreed by everyone. The end result was fantastic! Everything looked amazing and were of excellent quality. The two picnic benches can each seat up to 8 people (when COVID-19 regulations allow). From there, everyone visited a garden centre and a DIY store to select sensory plants and herbs plus a BBQ, water feature, solar lighting and colourful garden ornaments.
The aim was to make this a special place for all the people we support, so lots of different colours, textures, lighting, smells and sounds were introduced. Everyone got involved and there was much digging, painting and huffing and puffing done in between coffees.
When it came to naming this fantastic garden everyone agreed that it should named after a much loved team member, Ronnie Kilburn, who sadly passed away in January 2020. Ronnie had spent the last 10 years of his life providing excellent care and support and he is loved and missed by everyone. The garden is now called ‘Ronnie’s Garden’!
On Tuesday 7th September a special opening BBQ event was held with Ronnie’s family being the VIP guests. Ronnie’s wife, Doris, unveiled a special plaque to officially open the garden. It was an emotional moment but all 35 people in attendance had a great time and were well fed and watered!
Work is now ongoing to prepare the garden for winter, and plans are being made with the local school children to come and paint murals on the walls to make it even more colourful. The people we support and staff have all worked really hard and made a beautiful space for all to enjoy for years to come!