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Norwich girl and young green-fingered volunteers create sensory garden for children with special needs

PUBLISHED: 16:16 26 April 2019 | UPDATED: 16:16 26 April 2019

Lilly Beaman, 10, created and designed the sensory garden at Waterloo Park, Norwich. Picture: Tsveta Beaman

Lilly Beaman, 10, created and designed the sensory garden at Waterloo Park, Norwich. Picture: Tsveta Beaman

Tsveta Beaman

A ten-year-old girl has inspired hope in her community after designing and creating a sensory garden for children with special needs.

The garden at Waterloo Park, Norwich, before volunteers at Dulcet Gene began planting flowers and herbs. Picture: Tsveta BeamanThe garden at Waterloo Park, Norwich, before volunteers at Dulcet Gene began planting flowers and herbs. Picture: Tsveta Beaman

Lilly Beaman, from west Earlham, Norwich, wanted to create the garden for her five-year-old brother Frank, who is diagnosed with autism associated with a genetic disorder.

She said her brother loved spending time outdoors and so came up with the idea for a sensory garden, full of flowers and herbs, at Waterloo Park.

She is one of the main forces behind the nonprofit organisation Dulcet Gene, which provides nature-focused workshops at the park for children with special needs.

Lilly Beaman at the sensory garden in Waterloo Park, Norwich. Picture: Tsveta BeamanLilly Beaman at the sensory garden in Waterloo Park, Norwich. Picture: Tsveta Beaman

Lilly said: “I am very proud of my little brother Frank, he has many difficulties, he is different but in a nice way, he loves watching the bugs and the worms and smelling the plants and touching everything.

“I wanted to make a garden, for him and other children to touch everything so they don't worry about breaking stuff or stepping on flowers.

“I want children to plant and take care of the planet and be friends.”

Frank Beaman at the sensory garden in Waterloo Park, Norwich. Picture: Tsveta BeamanFrank Beaman at the sensory garden in Waterloo Park, Norwich. Picture: Tsveta Beaman

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Once they were given the go ahead by the council in October 2017, Lilly and a team of young volunteers began digging out the weeds at the park and brightened up the plot of land with roses, lavender, spring flowers and various herbs in 16 flower beds.

Even Norwich North MP Chloe Smith got involved and helped to plant a few flowers with Lilly, Frank and their younger sister Daisy, 4, as well as Lilly's best friends Olivia and Angel.

Lilly Beaman and her siblings, Frank and Daisy, at the sensory garden in Waterloo Park, Norwich. Picture: Tsveta BeamanLilly Beaman and her siblings, Frank and Daisy, at the sensory garden in Waterloo Park, Norwich. Picture: Tsveta Beaman

Lilly said: “The garden is really big, 100 times bigger than our garden at home and it was scary when we first saw it.

“I love going to the garden, I hope it rains this summer because last summer was so hard, I nearly cried when the grass died.

“I want other children to keep coming to the garden and maybe build a bugs hotel and a library to swap books.

Planting flowers at the sensory garden in Waterloo Park, Norwich. Picture: Tsveta BeamanPlanting flowers at the sensory garden in Waterloo Park, Norwich. Picture: Tsveta Beaman

“I hope the garden stays there for 100 years because I want to see how it looks when I am a grown up.

“I hope people like the garden and when it rains they can smell the lavender and smile.

“My mum and dad are really amazing because they helped my dream to come true and it makes me so happy and proud when I look at the garden now.”

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