A SPECIALLY-DESIGNED sensory garden has been unveiled at a service supporting men with an autism spectrum condition.

The garden, which was created by staff and volunteers at Thornfield Grange in Bishop Auckland, was officially opened by Shane, one of the nine people who are supported at the service.

Featuring a range of raised beds containing plants, flowers, herbs and spices, the garden was designed to engage the senses of sight, smell and touch.

There are also games, including a giant Kerplunk, trampoline, swings, benches and colourful steps for the garden users to enjoy.

The garden was made possible through fundraising by staff and the people supported at Thornfield Grange, which is part of the Danshell Group.

Thornfield Grange is a residential care home which has nursing for adults living with autism, learning disabilities and complex needs. The team also supports individuals who have complex behaviours, and significant difficulties with social engagement.

Service Manager at the service Tracy Fee said: “Previously, the garden was just grass but we wanted to create something that would not only look great, but also play an important part in the daily life of the people we support.

“We have created an area where everyone can be stimulated, relax or just engage their senses.”

The garden was designed by support worker Stacey Meayers and built by fellow support workers Gordon Wright and Trevor Abbott.

Other members of staff and volunteers also pitched in to complete the project.

Ms Fee said: “It was a real team effort and we couldn’t be happier with what we have achieved.”

After the official unveiling, people supported at the service, their families and staff enjoyed a tea party.

There was also a raffle with prizes donated by local businesses, including Costa Coffee, B&Q, Starbucks, Morrisons and the Gala Theatre.

Ms Fee added: “We always receive fantastic support from the local community and we would like to thank everyone who supported us, especially Ravensworth Nurseries in Richmond for helping with the design of the garden and providing the plants.”

For more information visit danshell.co.uk/autism-services/thornfield-grange or call 01388-602920.