St Paul’s parish embarked on fund-raising for the provision of a sensory garden at a residential centre for brain injury survivors, as a special community project to mark the 150th anniversary of the church building in 2018.
The garden was for the charity Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) Ireland, which opened its first assisted living residential service in 2001, in a house called “Anvers” on Adelaide Road, just a few hundred metres from St Paul’s church. Then known as the Peter Bradley Foundation, it was started by Barbara O’Connell for her brother Peter, who had suffered brain injuries in two serious road accidents by the age of 42.
The proceeds of several initiatives during the parish’s 150th celebrations went towards this garden project, including a substantial amount raised by a very successful concert held in the church in conjunction with Glasthule Opera. At the end of the year, a €10,000 cheque was given to ABI Ireland for the sensory garden.
Building plans at Anvers delayed the start of constructing the garden in the large space behind the two semi-detached houses that make up the residence. By the beginning of 2020, ABI Ireland had hoped to be able to use the funding provided by St Paul’s to create an accessible, paved sensory garden with seating area but the Covid-19 pandemic put a halt to everything. All non-essential services for ABI Ireland have been postponed until the crisis is over.
At the time of writing, in February 2021, they look forward to normal operations resuming at Anvers and to the day when they will be able to invite the parishioners of St Paul’s to the safe launch of the sensory garden when it is complete.