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5th Jul, 2022

Armed Forces Community Garden officially opens

Sarah Mason 25th May, 2022

A COMMUNITY garden that has veterans and serving personnel at the heart of it has been officially opened.

The Armed Forces Community Garden at Hillfield Park in Solihull was created following a collaboration between the Royal British Legion Warwickshire and Birmingham County and Solihull Council to create a ‘peaceful sanctuary for veterans and local schools.’

The garden opening was attended by the Vice Lord Lieutenant of the West Midlands, Professor Helen Higson, the Mayor of Solihull Councillor Ken Meeson, the president of Warwickshire and Birmingham County RBL Elaine Butler and six Armed Forces Veterans including residents from the Royal Star and Garter in Solihull which cares for veterans with dementia or disability.

Although the garden has been open since last summer, the official opening and celebrations have been postponed twice because of Covid restrictions.

Designed in cooperation with the military community, the local RBL County Committee and Solihull Council recognised a need for a space that met specific needs within the military community – not a place of Remembrance – but a place that exudes hope, healing habitats, and provides an environment that aids and promotes the wellbeing of the Armed Forces community through nature-based activities.

Elaine Butler said: “This garden is in no way a memorial garden, but a space that provides a therapeutic and natural environment for people to explore.

“Areas such as the sensory wildlife garden, the summer meadow and the newly-planted woodland has enabled us to create an engaging outdoor space that aims to aid physical and mental wellbeing and seated areas in garden also ensure peaceful surroundings for relaxation and reflection.

The garden, delivered by Balfour Beatty Living Places for Solihull Council, was crowned winner of the Judges’ Award at the Institution of Civil Engineers West Midlands Awards earlier this month.

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