Local community make a start on Astell House’s sensory garden

Cheltenham’s residential care home, Astell House, receives generous help from local organisations and their community to begin work on a sensory garden, the benefits of which will last for many years to come.

Astell House is a beautifully refurbished residential care home tucked away in Overton Park Road in Cheltenham. It started life as accommodation for teachers at Cheltenham Ladies College. It is now part of local charity Lilian Faithfull Care which provides care, support and a ‘home for life’ promise for elderly people in Gloucestershire.

Astell’s Care Home Manager Carole is passionate about creating a sensory garden space as a way of thanking all those at Astell, for what has been a very difficult time throughout Covid-19. Astell’s remarkable residents have given so much to our country and society, it’s imperative their lives remain valued and fulfilled.

The gardens will create a beautiful sensory space for all residents, families and staff to enjoy. It will bring back so many happy gardening memories and support mental and physical wellbeing, particularly for those living with dementia.

Carole commented, “As life begins to ease, my thoughts are on how to thank our residents for their enduring patience and understanding, their family’s continued support and trust, and my team who worked so hard and selflessly, always putting the residents’ needs first and providing outstanding care.”

The theme of the garden development is a safe and sensory space, with a never-ending pathway, reminiscence areas and homes for wildlife using upcycled resources. All these elements will provoke happy gardening memories and stimulus for all senses, all especially important for people living with various stages of dementia and partial sight.

Carole wrote to local companies explaining, “I would love to develop part of our garden for residents, families and staff, providing a safe haven in which they can all relax, enjoy time in and do gardening. Many residents have in the past been keen gardeners, so it would mean a lot to have help in developing our garden with high-rise planters for vegetables, a greenhouse, water feature, seating, wild flowers, homes for wildlife, and lovely pathways.”

Astell House residents are dedicating this new garden space to the memory of HRH Prince Philip. The passing of Prince Philip saddened residents and at the time, and together they wrote a lovely poem in tribute to him, which they sent to The Queen. They have chosen to name the garden ‘The Prince Philip Memorial Garden’ and it will incorporate ideals that Prince Philip supported including nature and sustainability.

Carole has been so pleased with the tremendous response of help from across their community offering materials, voluntary time, and monetary donations from lovely local people connected to Astell House. Local companies who have helped are; Keir Construction Ltd, whose staff volunteered their time and hard work and provided the digger, Ingenium Civil Engineering Ltd who provided the tarmac, and Elliott Aggregates Ltd who provided the skip and materials. In addition, Mason and Stokes Funeral Directors have kindly donated £500 to the project, which they will use to purchase a water feature. A family of a late resident donated £500 in garden vouchers which they will use for planting etc. Hartpury College donated £100 and B&Q and Dunelm donated garden ornaments and plants.

Carole commented, “We are enormously grateful to everyone’s support in helping to create our sensory garden for our very special residents to enjoy. We fully appreciate that you must have many demands for help. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for choosing to support Astell House care home and for helping us to make our dream become a reality. We look forward to welcoming you back in the spring to see the finished project which will be enjoyed by all, for many years to come.”

The Charity would like to thank to all the local companies and generous donators, for their support in making this new space possible for all those who live, work and visit Astell House care home.

Phase two begins in the spring, including raised beds, planting, a water fountain, other sensory elements and a greenhouse.

Please contact Care Home Manager Carole at Astell House if you’d like to get involved in 2022.

Astell House