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Rehab’s ‘Changing Perspectives’ Garden a Winner at Bloom 2012

30/10/2012 Rehab’s ‘Changing Perspectives’ Garden a Winner at Bloom 2012

On hand to celebrate the win were Rehab supporters, RTÉ weather presenter Audrey McGrath and actress Caroline Morahan, as well as a theatrical troupe from RehabCare’s Encore Productions drama group who performed their own drama piece “Life is Sweet”.

The garden is an imaginative and thought-provoking space giving visitors a sense of new horizons and opportunities that people experience when they come to Rehab’s services. The garden was inspired by people who access Rehab’s health and social care, and training and education services, along with employees from Rehab Recycle. It aims to raise awareness of the challenges faced by people with disabilities and others who are marginalised and the need to break down barriers in our society.

Angela Kerins, Rehab Chief Executive, commented, “Rehab is delighted to have won a Bronze medal for its ‘Changing Perspectives’ garden. Our garden seeks to illustrate, in a very visual and evocative way, some of the obstacles and challenges which people accessing our services can face and, more importantly, the new possibilities which Rehab’s services work hard to support people in tapping into. We are delighted that the judging panel has recognised the very important message of this garden and it has been a real labour of love for the people using our RehabCare and National Learning Network services, and those working in Rehab Recycle, who have helped to build it. They have shown huge commitment over the past number of months and the finished garden is a great tribute to their creativity, talent and skill.

“This garden is about having a “can do” attitude and showing a world which is inclusive, where everyone participates, obstacles are overcome, and people see things from different perspectives. The garden is stunning and I have no doubt that it will be a real talking point of the festival; we look forward to welcoming lots of visitors to the garden over the coming days and to telling them the Rehab story.”

David Shortall, part-time Rehab instructor and ‘Changing Perspectives’ garden designer, comments: “The Rehab ‘Changing Perspectives’ show garden was created after much discussion with the people who use Rehab’s services. The result is a creation which we feel is edgy and modern, and certainly not typical of what you might expect from a garden showcase. We wanted to give a sense of the life journey which people with disabilities often face and the real importance to our world of recycling, reuse and sustainability.

“Visitors are first greeted by a ‘wilderness’ strewn with debris and junk, enclosed by a wall decorated with artistic graffiti, leaving us with a sense of being lost in the world. The visitor then enters a Vortex, or fantasy escape tunnel, to emerge into a new world of colour, beauty, hope and opportunity, where anything is possible, including a tree house with a lift to the top. In the Rehab garden, everyone is included.”

A key criterion in developing the garden has been the use of “waste” materials provided by Rehab Recycle for reuse and repurposing, including glass cullet, polystyrene and waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), again illustrating new possibilities and everything having a purpose. Many of the materials have also been recycled in new and experimental ways. Plants, vegetables and herbs have been carefully cultivated by students accessing Rehab’s training and employment services. The garden will also feature art and sculpture by people using Rehab’s services, while there will also be a number of performances in the garden over the weekend, including a Tai Chi display and a drama production.

Echoing the sustainable ethos of the show garden itself, once Bloom 2012 closes, the garden will be relocated to Rehab in Roslyn Park, Sandymount.

Every year, Rehab supports more than 8,000 people with disabilities and others who are marginalised in Ireland. It does this by enabling them to achieve their goals, learn skills, access job opportunities and live more independent lives, through its resource and training centres, residential and supported accommodation services and in respite care, outreach and home-based services.

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