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'Garden of respite' opened by community volunteers in Sacriston

Ron with Fulforth’s Project Development Team-Sacriston

Image: PCVC Ron Hogg with Fulforth’s Project Development Team, Sacriston

A new community garden has been opened with the support of Durham Constabulary.

The Fulforth Centre, in Sacriston, has unveiled what is being referred to as a ‘garden of respite’ as part of an ongoing community engagement project.

The area, which has been put together and maintained by volunteers, is designed as a peaceful environment open to everyone, but particularly aimed towards elderly residents and sufferers of Alzheimer’s and Dementia.

Detective Inspector Paul Gray, spearheading the initiative alongside Fulforth’s Project Development Worker Gemma O’Brien, said: “Mental health doesn’t always get the focus it needs, and with such a large elderly community in Sacriston, it’s important to have somewhere to go for a breath of fresh air.”

Funded entirely through community investment, the garden initiative was put forward at a focus group before being voted for by the public. It forms part of a series of ongoing projects in the area.

Det Insp Gray added: “We’re working towards closing that gap between the police and the community. Part of that means asking the public what really matters to them, and listening to the voices that aren’t always heard.

“This garden is all the hard work of local volunteers, so there’s a strong sense of personal professional pride in it already, and it’s only the start of a great programme of community engagement.”

Police, Crime and Victims' Commissioner (PCVC) Ron Hogg was on hand to cut the inaugural ribbon, and said: “It’s great to see so many people volunteering to make a success of the garden of respite. Their contribution has been fundamental, and the garden provides a lovely, tranquil environment for local people.”

Also in the works are improved facilities for the elderly and a campaign to improve shop fronts for local businesses.

Det Insp Gray said: “Local businesses and residents are at the heart of a healthy community, and we’re committed to doing all we can to encourage their growth and involvement.”

Posted on Saturday 8th July 2017
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