A NEW sensory garden for the children who attend the O’Neill Centre, St Joseph’s Road, Kilkenny was officially opened by the mayor of the city, Cllr Sean O’hArgain on Wednesday afternoon. It was made possible by a donation from Taxback.com, the financial services company run by Terry Clune and his team in Kilkenny.
He and other members of staff from Taxback spent a whole Saturday putting the garden together along with workers, parents, friends and volunteers from the O’Neill Centre in a fledgling initiative that might become the norm between the corporate sector and charities providing services in the communities around the city and county.
The garden is multi-sensory and with different textures of the plants and smell of the mint, lavender, provides the children, especially those with sensory difficulties with alternative ways of enjoying the outdoors and of heightening their awareness of all things green by using the senses they have. There are chimes, a wall mounted xylophone complete with little mallets, .
It has a wheelchair accessible planting bed and a wheelchair accessible sand box. It is an oasis of calm where children and those looking after them can hang out
Aine Mullins, qualified nurse and senior child care worker explained it is all part of the inter-active pre-school programme for 0 to 6 year olds. “The idea is to develop the child’s interpretive, cognitive and social skills. in the middle of the garden is a tree planted by the recently retired director of the centre, Lucy Dooley. the Joseph rock is blooming like the centre itself where the care provided to the children is of a very high standard.
The new garden was blessed by Fr Jim Murphy of St Canice’s parish. He noted it was the Feast of St Benedict and he spoke of the loving care and the kindly atmosphere at the O’Neill Centre which made it such a welcoming and special place to visit.
Director of the O’Neill Centre, Paula Rudkins thanked everyone involved and welcomed the Mayor, Fr Murphy, Sinead fitzmaurice, chief financial officer with Taxback and Kate Devereaux (Terry Clune’s wife), director of Taxback.
Paula thanked Terry Clune, Kate and the staff at Taxback, Paul Deegan and Tom Phelan for their part in the success of the project and said the O’Neill Centre was delighted to be a beneficiary of the Taxback.com outreach programme and said the garden was an example of what could be achieved with a small amount of money and alarge amount of help and co-operation, help and interst.
Mayor O’hArgain said the people of Kilkenny were very lucky to have the O’Neill centre in its midst and he praised the huge contribution the Enable Ireland run facility made to the lives of so many people. He then officially opened the garden.
Enable Ireland Kilkenny provides services to children who require team based interventions from two or more disciplines and who reside in the Kilkenny Community Care Area.