Fortunes turn for former flood victims thanks to Tesco Bags of Help scheme

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A group of older residents living at Hanover Gardens in Bicester have been granted £8,000 to help transform their communal gardens into a sensory garden where they can relax and socialise with their friends and family.

The new garden will consist of decorative steel arches, lowered brick planters with mixed shrubs and a new seating area. It will also have a host of ambient sounds created by a new solar powered fountain.

The award is thanks to shoppers from Tesco customers in Bicester who voted for the proposal.

Three years ago some 60 residents from the retirement housing complex were forced to celebrate Christmas away from their homes when the River Bure burst its banks and flooded the estate. As waters surged up to 10 feet deep, emergency services evacuated the residents to safety.

The residents are looking to create a  new garden capable of stimulating the senses. This occurs courtesy of plants and the use of materials that will engage sight, smell, touch, taste and sound. These types of gardens are popular with and beneficial to older people who have sensory processing issues.

Tracey Dias-Gunawardena, Estate Manager from Hanover Housing Association said: “This is a fantastic early Christmas present. We are delighted with the result and are now looking forward to creating an ambient community space where residents and the local community can relax and socialise with friends and neighbours.”

It is hoped that the sensory area will be open throughout the year to give all visitors an opportunity enjoy a range of sounds, textures and perfumes across the seasons. 

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