Garden opening is a poignant moment

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Samaritans Garden (Ben Compton Photography).

THE opening of a garden by Stratford Samaritans was described as a poignant celebration.

One of the benches in the new garden, at the Community Hub in Tyler Street, was donated in memory of Pat Borthwick, who was twice the director of the branch before she died in February 2017.

Pat’s husband Jimmy and daughter Lorna were at the opening event, on 5th June.

The garden has been overhauled for the  8,000 people from around 50 organisations who use the Stratford Samaritans Community Hub each year.

Besides Stratford Samaritans, three other charities – Lifespace, St Basil’s and WCAVA – have office space in the hub.

Several groups that use the Tyler House facilities helped create the garden, which was completely overgrown when the hub opened three years ago.

Phil Cazaly, director of Stratford Samaritans, lease holders of the building owned by the Municipal Charities, said: “We are very proud that our Community Hub is playing such a big part in helping the people of Stratford and the surrounding area and now we hope they can enjoy the garden space as well.”

The garden project began with a grant from Tesco and support from the Municipal Charities, then Turning Point’s Community Champs created and continue to care for a raised bed of plants. Caterpillar Café donated plants and handmade scarecrows, Men’s Sheds built planters and benches and Stratford in Bloom created a sensory garden.

Hub manager Clare Neale said: “It’s been a real community effort and the garden is lovely. All the organisations involved in creating the garden came to celebrate the opening, as well as the hub partners.”

Stephanie Lester, chair of Stratford in Bloom, said: “We are delighted to have chosen Stratford Samaritans as our Community Project for 2019. To be able to create a sensory garden that will, hopefully, give a huge amount of pleasure to people who use the Community Hub, makes it a very special project for us. A garden can be so therapeutic, and nature does not discriminate. Anyone, regardless of ability, can enjoy gardening.”