AMBULANCE service staff have raised hundreds of pounds and plants to complete a Tyneside care home sensory garden.
A “pound or plant” dress down day was held at North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) units in Hebburn and Newburn to raise the cash.
Many NEAS team members donated both the £1 and a plant, helping to raise over £300 for the sensory garden at Willowdene Care Home, on Victoria Road West, Hebburn.
Several staff from the Emergency Operations Centre visited the home to deliver the plants and other items bought with the funds, including solar powered fairy lights, bunting, garden mobiles and wind chimes.
Team leader Sally Oliver-Raine alongside health advisors Harriet Cowell and David Sunley also handed over a £30 gift voucher for B&Q, which the care home staff used to buy tubs and planters for the garden.
Sally said: “After visiting Willowdene Care Home during Dementia Action Week earlier this year, we decided to help the home in their sensory garden.
“The “pound or a plant” dress down day saw many staff members donating a pound and brought plants too.
“We were able to supply enough plants to fill all of the raised flower beds at the home, along with solar powered lights, wind chimes, mobiles and garden decorations.
“NEAS is always looking to support local projects that benefit local people and it’s great that the residents will get huge enjoyment out of the garden.
“It was an absolute pleasure to be a part of the garden transformation and to get to know some of the staff and residents. I truly hope that we have been able to help make a difference.”
Margaret Branch, a resident at Willowdene Care Home, said: “How kind of you all. I love the bright colours.”
The completed sensory garden helps to stimulate residents’ sense of smell, sound, touch and sight, with particular benefits for those living with dementia.
After putting the finishing touches on the garden, there was £100 left from the NEAS fundraising, which the team has donated to the residents’ fund. The fund helps pay for day trips for those living at the care home throughout the year.
Christine Chandler, activities coordinator at Willowdene Care Home, said: “We are overwhelmed by the generosity of the team at the North East Ambulance Service.
“During their visit to the home earlier in the year for Dementia Action Week, we took them on a tour of the home and showed them our fledging sensory garden. At the time we only had a few raised flower beds and hardly any plants, but lots of plans.
“Little did we know they would go and run their own fundraiser to help us finish the sensory garden. They raised a fantastic amount and we are so grateful.
“Sensory items are so important for those with impairments such as deteriorating eyesight and loss of hearing and can help bring back memories for those with dementia.
“The solar lights also mean our residents can appreciate the garden even when it’s dark. Everyone is enjoying the garden already and looking forward to seeing how it grows and blossoms over the coming years.”