Work has begun on a unique community garden scheme which has been specially designed to suit Alzheimer’s sufferers.
Initiated by the Castlegate Area Residents Association (CARA), the garden at the east end of Tweed Street has largely been designed by students from the Life Skills Unit at Berwick Academy, in consultation with the Alzheimer’s Society.
By using native and sensory plants, the project aims to create an accessible “memory garden” on Shambles Brae, with a high biodiversity value.
Students from the Academy have worked hard to clear brambles and litter from the eastern sloped end of the area, to make way for a new, more inviting scheme.
“The intention is to replant this area with native trees attractive to wildlife, some specimen trees and some fruit trees,” explained CARA chair Margaret Shaw.
Seats will be recycled from those recently removed from Castle Vale Park.
The area, which was not budgeted for under the designated £1million Heritage Lottery Funded-Parks for People project, had been under-used in recent years, and suffered from problems of litter, dog-fouling and other antisocial behaviour, particularly drinking.
However, as the Heritage Lottery work continues on Castle Vale and Coronation Parks, its potential value has become increasingly evident.
By working with Berwick’s new parks development officer Kate Morison, who will monitor the park on a daily basis and assist with maintenance, those driving the community memory garden project hope to raise the attractiveness of this area and encourage “positive use”.
Castle Vale and Coronation Park are currently being restored but are still difficult to access fully by some users due to their steep topography.
Mrs Shaw added: “The community garden at the Shambles Brae site can be easily accessed from Scotsgate without having to negotiate steps or steep gradients.”
CARA has applied to the HLF Parks for People Project and the Northumberland Coast AONB Sustainable Development Fund for money towards the hard landscaping elements of the project, and Berwick Town Council has donated £500 for trees and hedging.