Sensory Garden at Charles Morris Hall

Storm Jameson Court is designed and accredited as ‘Access Exceptional’ by the Visit Britain National Accessible Scheme. However, whilst the site is home to student and conference wheelchair users, the grounds previously housed fairly simple shrub planting, with little opportunity for engagement.

In order to change this, we’ve set up a wheelchair accessible sensory garden focussing on use for people assessed on the autism spectrum (ASD). The planting scheme will have year-round interest and is based on advice received from Buglife’s Urban Buzz scheme in York, and the RHS Perfect for Pollinators Plant List.

The primary objective of the sensory garden is to improve access to the garden at Charles Morris Hall, thereby ensuring equal access and inclusiveness for all students, staff and visitors.

Additional objectives are to promote the well-being of students and visitors with ASD, with the planting scheme prioritised on known benefits. Also to increase biodiversity, by attracting invertebrates through the planting of species on the RHS Pollinator List. The year-round interest will assist invertebrates, especially the local Tawny Mining Bees located here on campus, and also the bees that live in hives on top of the Laidlaw Library.

Additionally, our estates team is working with the RNIB to highlight the planting of varying textures and to produce supporting guides, delivering tactile and large print versions of hand-held guides which detail what is there to enjoy!

Vibi Rothnie from RNIB charity said: “I finally took a walk to the garden with a partially-sighted friend who loved the stachys and was intrigued by the bee hotels – perfect reaction!”

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