Worthing garden transformed thanks to offenders

W24216H11 WH GARDEN GT 14.06.11.'' Alzheimer's Society new garden ........ Maureen Gray , Day Support Manager , in the new garden .......... W24216H11.
W24216H11 WH GARDEN GT 14.06.11.'' Alzheimer's Society new garden ........ Maureen Gray , Day Support Manager , in the new garden .......... W24216H11.

AN EMPTY backyard has been transformed into a landscaped garden, thanks to a £5,000 donation and the hard work of a group of offenders.

The Worthing branch of the Alzheimer’s Society, based in Stone Lane, received the money from the Sussex Masonic Society to make-over the garden.

The Sussex and Surrey Probation Service was asked to support the garden project by sending six offenders to carry out their community payback at the site.

Lesley Unsted, project co-ordinator for the probation service, said: “The community payback service sees offenders carry out tasks for a set amount of hours as part of their sentence.

“The Alzheimer’s Society needed labour to carry out their garden renovation and this meant they only had to pay for the materials and by the end had a brand-new garden.”

The offenders had 11 supervised visits at the site, working seven-hour days over a period of three to four months.

They dug out soil, cleared the land, weeded, painted fencing and created access paths.

Lesley added: “These sorts of opportunities are great as they give the individuals the chance to be part of something positive and learn new skills.”

The garden follows the style of a Thrive garden.

Colin Carpenter, from the Alzheimer’s Society, said: “Thrive is a small national charity, founded in 1978, that uses gardening to change the lives of disabled people.

“Landscape garden designer, Peter Jones was keen to design and build the garden and offered his services free of charge.

“He designed the garden specifically for people with dementia. It has raised beds so people with mobility problems can still participate in gardening activities, and the plants have been chosen for their scents, feel and colour and to evoke memories.

“There are also places to sit and enjoy the garden and an area for bird watching with a bird table, bath and nesting box.”

Andy and Sue McGregor, of Rocsters Jive Company, donated £600 to pay for planting.

The Worthing branch of the Alzheimer’s Society is holding a sponsored memory walk on Saturday, September 17.

Anyone who would like to participate should visit www.memorywalk.org.uk or call 267902.

- Northbrook Barn Community Centre, in Squadron Drive, Durrington, has been given a new lease of life by other offenders on probation.

They spent one day a week at the community centre since February, repainting a large fence, treating the timber exterior and windows and redecorating.

To nominate a community project which needs help from the community payback team, visit www.surreysussexprobation.gov.uk/communitypayback.