A garden for all seasons

OPENING OF GARDEN: Deputy mayor Councillor David Ashford and deputy mayoress Sylvia Ashford with Douglas Marks & Spencer manager Kenny Marshall, right, community arts specialist Debra Tracey, standing right, and sculptor Gavin Carter, who is responsible for the carved handrails alongside the ramps for disabled access. Also, pictured seated, is textile artist Lorraine Cleasby

OPENING OF GARDEN: Deputy mayor Councillor David Ashford and deputy mayoress Sylvia Ashford with Douglas Marks & Spencer manager Kenny Marshall, right, community arts specialist Debra Tracey, standing right, and sculptor Gavin Carter, who is responsible for the carved handrails alongside the ramps for disabled access. Also, pictured seated, is textile artist Lorraine Cleasby

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A COMMUNITY project on Douglas seafront has been completed.

The refurbished sunken garden, which features more than 125 mosaic art works, was designed to encourage environmental responsibility.

The new gardens now feature disabled access, which will allow wheel-chair users to enjoy the whole length of the garden.

Deputy Mayor of Douglas David Ashford opened the Garey Glass project, which is funded by environmental charity Groundwork from the profits of a Marks & Spencer’s carrier bag charge.

The garden’s artistic interpretation of ‘recycle, reuse, reduce’ has been led by community arts specialist Debra Tracey, who worked with local charities and voluntary groups in sessions to create the mosaics and other design elements for the project.

Ms Tracey said: ‘Garey Glass has been a tremendous community effort, involving people of all ages and abilities. I’d like to extend my thanks to everyone who gave so generously of their time and make special mention of my stepson John Carney who helped so much with the painstaking work of grouting the mosaics.

‘I held a number of work sessions in the run-up to the launch and it was wonderful to see whole families from very young children to grandparents getting involved with making the mosaics, every single piece of which has been used, making the project truly inclusive.

‘We’ve used as much recycled material as possible, right down to the jars and containers for the eco-art classes – and we found all kinds of creative ways to re-use plastic carrier bags, even for making the “ribbon” cut by the deputy mayor at the opening.’

In a short address before declaring Garey Glass officially open, Mr Ashford said the council was pleased to be aligned with organisations and voluntary groups that shared its commitment to making towns cleaner and greener and providing facilities accessible to everyone.

In closing he praised the effort and hard work put in by all those involved in what was a ‘community-driven project’ that illustrated, with great creativity, the important theme of sustainability.

Douglas Development Partnership’s development manager Chris Pycroft said: ‘Garey Glass has brought added interest and a new sense of community to the sunken gardens, which are magnificently maintained by the council’s parks section.

‘Importantly, with the council having installed ramps at both ends and created smooth paths that meander along its length, Garey Glass is now accessible to wheelchair users.

‘The mosaics will bring colour to the garden during the months when the flowers have died down while the LED lighting gives life to the space at night, so this is very much a garden for all seasons and all hours.’

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