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See Ability charity praised for new Surbiton sensory garden

September 6, 2021


A disability charity has won Gold at the BBC’s Gardeners Wold Live event for their new sensory garden based in Surbiton. 

See Ability, formerly the Royal School for the Blind, give specialist support for people with learning disabilities, autism and sight loss.

Their new Sensory Garden on Ditton Road in Surbiton, called the ‘See You, See Me’ Border Garden, was designed by SeeAbility Trustee Deborah Hale MBE, and scooped multiple awards from gardening experts recently.

See You, See Me, which won Gold at BBC Gardener’s World Live, also won ‘Best Interpretation of a Theme 2021’ at the show held in the NEC Birmingham last week.

Surrey Comet:

The beautiful garden explores different ways of seeing. The concept behind the winning garden was designed to “challenge the notion that we only see with our eyes”.

Four wooden pillars stand within the garden with the words ‘Live’, ‘Love’, ‘Thrive’, ‘Belong’, SeeAbility’s strapline to the people it supports, literally carved into the wood.

“The planting is designed to challenge our sense of touch and smell and the plants were specially selected to ensure maximum sensory enjoyment. They’re the result of conversations with, and stories from, people of all abilities and from all walks of life,” Deborah said.

“Our inspiration comes from SeeAbility’s strapline, ‘Live, Love, Thrive, Belong’. In an inclusive community where everyone is accepted, connected, and included, people are valued through their differences, and this enriches society because it maximises everyone’s potential, and creates a culture where everyone can contribute,” she added.

Surrey Comet:

Pebbles painted by pupils at Hillstone Primary School and people supported by SeeAbility were planted in the border during the BBC live show by visitors to the event. The beautiful border is now being replanted at SeeAbility Ditton Road, a five bedroom supported living house in Surbiton.

“At SeeAbility we believe living a good life means you’re living a life where you’re mentally, physically and emotionally as healthy as you can be – and that’s why this beautiful garden border means so much to us,” Norma Williams, who manages SeeAbility’s home in Ditton Road said.

“We all enjoy being outdoors and the ‘See You, See Me’ sensory garden will challenge everyone – sighted or unsighted – to find new ways of seeing.”

Click here for more information about See Ability and the work they do.

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