The decision to have a Sensory Garden in Malvern was made quite early in the life of the Malvern Access Group. A number of people returned from holidays to places where there was a Sensory Garden and they wondered why Malvern did not have one. The benefits for those who have a physical or sensory disability are immense.
The Town Council gave permission to use a portion of Victoria Park and a planning application was made. Most of the planting work after the design had been approved was carried out by Madresfield Designs.
Art in the Heart of the Garden was the major fundraising activity. This Art Auction was held on the 28th March 2003 and it was opened by the Mayor Councillor Mrs. Frances Victory. It raised money for a sensory garden for all to enjoy which would be called the Magdalaine Gardens.
All items were donated and supporters included many local craftsmen and women as well as a painting from Antony Gormley creator of Angel of the North: a signed watercolour print from David Bellamy: and a photographic work, printed and created by Charlie Waite, internationally renowned photographer.
The Auction raised over £2,500 but since the total project cost over £25,000 fundraising continued through the purchase of bricks, Christmas cards, and through donations to purchase a bench in memory of a Health Visitor who died.
A large grant was received from People’s Places who took an interest throughout the progress of the project. Other grants came from the Co-operative Community Fund and from the BTCV (www2.btcv.org.uk).
Volunteers got involved with work to build the garden as did groups of volunteers from the Green Gym which was working in Malvern at that time. This project took several years to complete and some of the delay was caused by the activities of vandals around the park.