Colourful windmill in garden

Santa Maria (Independent Living Service) spruce up their garden

Lockdown has been a challenging time for everyone, but despite the difficulties it has presented, there have been many benefits too. It has been a chance to reflect on what is important in life, some people have unleashed their creativity and others have found time to tackle jobs they have been putting off. Now that the people at Santa Maria (Independent Living Service) have been spending more time than ever at home, the staff team have set about to make some improvements to their living environment.

Rob Barber, Senior Support Worker said “The team are doing a great job considering how to improve the lives of the customers who live at Santa Maria and put these plans into action. I would like to give Martin Slaughter a special mention. Since joining ILS from Day Services, he has been a real inspiration to the staff at Santa Maria. He is friendly, knowledgeable, professional and a genuine pleasure to work with. He has been busy throughout his time working with the long-term team, to make improvements around the house and garden.”

The staff at Santa Maria wanted to make the back garden a more attractive and desirable place to spend time, relax and enjoy the summer. The team set about clearing the garden; cutting down diseased trees, clearing and replanting the vegetable garden. The hedge along the side of the house was cut back to improve access. The patio borders were cleared of weeds and planted with flowers. Hanging baskets, bird feeders and garden decorations added the finishing touches. Now the people who live at Santa Maria, can sit in comfort on their newly purchased garden furniture and enjoy their surroundings.

Inside the home, the team have set to work converting the spare room into a sensory space. The plan is to create a calming environment – using lighting, music and objects. So far the team have cleared the room, and fitted a foam-tile floor. Martin has also been busy making multi-textured decorations to adorn the walls.

Once the room is complete, the improvements will not stop there. The team have plans to go back out into the garden and create a sensory garden, full of plants and herbs with differing textures, aromas, shapes and colours.

Donna Chaplin, ILS Deputy Manager said “It’s so good to see the staff working together with the people who live at Santa Maria and making such a lovely garden and Patio area. The staff have worked hard during the pandemic, to ensure the people at Santa Maria were as active as they could be while things were uncertain. From the start of this current climate the staff team have had one aim and that is to keep our customers happy and safe, and that is exactly what they have done. We are very proud of them.”

Clive Tyndale, ILS Registered Manager added “Watching this project develop from just an idea to a fully functional sensory room and the work to improve the overall look of the garden has been amazing. Seeing the commitment and determination of the staff to succeed in this objective has been a pleasure to witness. The customers take time to warm to anything new so there was little expectation of its use immediately, but as time has passed customers are engaging more and more in their use and at times without support or prompting, which shows that they seem to enjoy the new additions and changes to their home.”

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