Posted: Tue 16th Apr 2024

Wrexham students dig in to create peace garden at local care home for people living in or visiting the Wrexham area

Wrexham students are digging in to create a tranquil peace garden at a care home.

The community-spirited learners from the MPTC School are transforming part of a green-lawned area into a relaxing sensory oasis to help celebrate the landmark 40th anniversary of the award-winning Pendine Park care organisation

Work to build the secluded haven has already begun in the grounds of Pendine’s Hillbury House and Gwern Alyn residential homes in Wrexham.

It will eventually encompass mature trees, herbaceous shrubs, fragrant flowers, winding pathways and a stone water feature.

The garden has been designed by Pendine Park Artist in Residence Sarah Edwards, who has included plants to stimulate all the senses through their aroma, texture and colourful blossoms.

MPCT students at Hillbury; Levi Lloyd and Daniel Jones with Pendine Parks Kevin Jones, Hillbury resident Diane Morris and Artist in Residence Sarah Edwards. (Picture Mandy Jones)

She has been bowled over by the level of enthusiasm from the teenage MPCT learners aged between 14 and 16 who kindly offered their time and effort to turn her creative vision into dazzling reality.

Sarah was delighted when school, an alternative education provider based at Hightown Barracks, Wrexham, approached Pendine to ask if they could help with any interesting practical projects.

She explained that the two organisations struck up a friendship after the learners aged between made surprise Christmas cards which they delivered to residents of Hillbury and Gwern Alyn over the festive season.

Sarah said: “When they brought the Christmas cards they clearly were impressed with our residents and the environment here.

“We were equally happy to welcome them and even more excited when they later approached us to see if there were any vocational or practical tasks they could lend a hand with.”

MPCT students at Hillbury; Liam Watson (Picture Mandy Jones)

Sarah and the Hillbury and Gwern Alyn manager, Cindy Clutton, had already been thinking of creating a new sensory garden for residents to enjoy in the warmer spring and summer months and it seemed the perfect opportunity to enlist the assistance of the MPCT.

Its centres are designed to give young people the experience of learning in a real-life military environment with a curriculum designed to develop physical fitness, essential skills and self-confidence. All its instructors are ex-Armed Forces personnel with years of military experience.

But, as well as training at the Barracks, they engage in community projects, interacting with local groups and volunteering practical assistance when they can.

Learners Stuart Lee and Levi Lloyd said they were inspired to help create the area to be called the “Peace Garden”.

Stuart said: “It’s good to be doing something positive for the community and to know the residents can enjoy what we are creating for years to come.”

It is hoped the garden will be officially opened later this year as part of the 40th anniversary celebrations.

The project has been funded through the Pendine Arts and Community Trust which was established by Pendine owners Mario and Gill Kreft to support cultural and community initiatives.

MPCT students at Hillbury; Levi Lloyd and Daniel Jones. (Picture Mandy Jones)

They are grateful for the help of the MPCT team who over recent weeks have been working all out on vital preparation, including digging out the ground to accommodate the new garden’s varied planting structure and foundations.

MPCT Schools Military Instructor Tom Thompson said: “Our team of amazing learners have worked really hard on this project.

“They know how much of an impact this garden will have on the residents and their visiting families and they are determined to do the best job they can for them.

“Many of our learners have not had the opportunity to engage in such a project and with not much experience they have had to learn fast and work as a team, two things we are really proud of them for”.

The students have been working alongside expert horticulturalist Pete Kosakiewicz, who joined the Pendine Park gardening team about four years ago.

Pete comes from Poland and studied for 12 years in the much respected horticultural college and university academy at Szczecin in north west Poland, going on to teach horticulture and floristry in his homeland.

Sarah said Pete’s help and his wealth of knowledge have been invaluable, from the design stage through to the hand’s on work.

Manager Cindy Clutton added: “We are so fortunate that we already have such extensive grounds for our residents to enjoy, but the addition of this new area will be a real bonus for them, a place where they can spend quiet contemplative moments with their families or just enjoying the beautiful outdoors.”

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