Lord Shaftesbury opens sensory garden at Livability's Victoria Education Centre

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Livability’s Victoria Education Centre in Poole welcomed Nick Ashley Cooper (the 12th Earl of Shaftesbury) and the Mayor of Poole today for the official opening of a new sensory garden and covered walk way at the school.

Victoria is a non-maintained, Ofsted-Outstanding special school in Poole, offering specialised, high quality education, therapy and care for young people aged 3-19 years old.

The day involved the official opening ceremony, and a community celebration lunch at the school, seeing students, families, staff and supporters all taking part.

Lord Shaftesbury celebrated the opening by cutting a ribbon to the walk way area. The Lord Mayor Councillor Sean Gabriel was also in attendance.

“Rain drops keep falling on my head” – no more!


Thanks to some generous donations and the hard work of staff, volunteers and school friends in raising funds, the school recently installed the covered walkway running from the main school buildings to another building on site – Carmel House.

The work was completed over the summer break and will enable students to traverse the site in bad weather without getting wet.

Special guests and supporters to this work have included, The Talbot Trust, The Bournemouth and Parkstone Rotary Club, The Can-Am Car Club, The Pirates of Poole, Hart Tarmac, Roger Parsons, Sue Hurd and Dave and Julia Smith.

Some of the funding for this project was very kindly donated by Debbie and Steve Francis following the death of their parents. Staff and school friends have also contributed to setting up the garden, including Hazel Noyon and Louise Card (plus her husband and family) who planted and set out the sensory items.

The design team were Jen Williams, Amy Hunt, Margaret Hopwood, Alison Calcutt, Vicky Gregory, Peter Coleman, Sue Stratis. The work also had the input from some specialist companies including JWC who built the woodland walk.


Simon Brown, Head Teacher at the school said:

“Victoria Education Centre is proud to be supported by a wonderful community of family, friends, staff, partners and donors. Without their generous help and support – these things just aren’t possible.

Our new sensory garden opens up all sorts of new learning and discovery opportunities for students. And the covered way helps students – some of which have a range of mobility needs – to move between school buildings without getting wet in the rain.

Thank you to all involved and to Lord Shaftesbury for officially opening these new facilities today.”


For more information about Victoria Education School visit their web site here.