Wenceling Garden: Pictures from the 2013 opening of Lancing’s community-led sensory garden

Nine years ago, sunshine and refreshments welcomed visitors to the official opening of Wenceling Garden, Lancing’s community-led sensory garden.

According to the organisers, it had received nothing but positive feedback from the many visitors who passed through, from young children to local councillors. Project manager Lydia Schilback said at the time that the day was ‘absolutely fantastic’. She added: “We had a huge turnout and it was a really happy, light-hearted event. Everybody was overwhelmed, it’s such a transformed space."

The garden, in South Street, Lancing, was the first community regeneration project. The £26,000 scheme was publicly-funded, with £15,000 coming from the Adur Pot of Gold fund. It was supplemented by a donation from the friends and family of Ted and Irene Baker, match-funded by Lancing Parish Council.

Landscape architect David Pope, Lydia’s husband, came up with the design based on ideas and suggestions proposed by residents. A ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday, June 1, 2013, opened the garden to the public, allowing people to look around and enjoy the fragrant herbs and edible plants, exploring a garden design that encapsulated all the senses. Lydia hoped its success would showcase the potential for more regeneration projects in the town.

Children and adults had got their hands dirty as they helped develop the new community space, starting in November 2012 with a group session marking the start of the transformation. A team of 29 people of all ages dug more than 30 existing plants. These were re-potted and homed over the winter, then replanted in the new garden in spring.

Lydia said at the time: “The project is entirely community-led and focuses on promoting local talent and skills, whether from individuals or businesses. It aims to be completely inclusive and absolutely anyone is welcome to get involved on any level.”

Demolition work started during December and January, with building work following in the new year. The design combined 'textures, smells and tastes, along with colour and sounds'. It will also featured artwork and raised beds, so people with limited mobility could still enjoy the space.

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