Youth Vision’s Community Sensory Garden
The University of Edinburgh are proud to have funded Youth Vision’s Community Sensory Garden through its Community Grants Scheme.
The University of Edinburgh are proud to have funded Youth Vision’s Community Sensory Garden through its Community Grants Scheme. Youth Vision is a charity based in the South West of Edinburgh, working with young people who struggle with formal education. Their project, “Youth Vision’s Community Sensory Garden” is designed around the sensory needs of Youth Vision’s vulnerable and neurodiverse young people, as well as those experiencing mental health challenges. A calming garden has been designed and this aims to be a safe space where individuals can take time out to readjust.
Youth Vision saw a need for a quiet safe area to meet the needs of their vulnerable young people, many of whom suffer from sensory processing disorders which makes them sensitive to, for example, noise and crowds of people. If they are experiencing a sensory overload then the Community Sensory Garden is a safe place they can use as a breakaway space.
Knowing they have somewhere they can escape from the pressures of the group, where they're actually trusted to go. It has stopped them from threatening to leave the boundaries because they know they won’t be bothered if they've gone there specifically.
As well as this, the building of the sensory garden has provided their young people with skills and experiences that they can use in life and in a workplace, from practical skills such as path building, to other skills such as decision-making and leading projects.
One example of the benefit of the Community Sensory Garden is a young man within Youth Vision who was struggling socially whilst taking part in a group activity. Rather than leave the site, he was redirected to the sensory garden to manage his sensory overload. After he had done this, he was able to re-join activities and was in a much better head space.
If that thing wasn't there, I was gonna be away up the hills. I was going home. But this is fine for me, I'll just stay here for a bit as long as I know I won't get disturbed.
The benefits of the project will go on indefinitely and the maintenance of the garden will be looked after by the Vision Youth community. There are plans to plant flowers and bee friendly plants to support biodiversity, as well as plant flowers to make dye from as well as edible flowers to use in cooking.