Severn Trent Searches employees create a community sensory garden

Members of Severn Trent Searches, who provide searches and reports for conveyancing, have been busy creating a sensory garden for locals near their office in Nottingham.

The sensory garden is located at St. John the Evangelist Church in Annesley – a stone’s throw from where the Severn Trent Searches team is based.

Owen Davies, Business Development Manager at Severn Trent Searches, said: “I got in touch with the church because they hold a community food bank there, and I wanted to see how we might be able to help with that.

“However, they told me they’d rather use our resources to help build a sensory garden on the church grounds. Knowing we had a budding horticulturist on our team, Ian Mann, I jumped at the chance!”

What is a sensory garden?

It provides an engaging experience that can stimulate all the senses, including sight, touch, smell, taste, and hearing. Sensory gardens can particularly benefit people with additional physical and mental needs.

Ian Mann, Senior Customer Service Advisor at Severn Trent Searches, handpicked the plants for the sensory garden based on his passion for horticulture and his experience working in a butterfly house and a local nursery.

“I work three days a week for Severn Trent Searches and three days a week for Ashdale Nursery in Gedling, who supplied the wonderful sensory plants.

“I opted for grasses that rustle in the wind. Plus, herb plants like thyme and rosemary that emit a pungent smell on your fingertips when you rub them. I chose lavender for the same reason and of course, for its vibrant colour, purple.

“The Lambs Ear plants I chose have fuzzy leaves that make you feel like you’re stroking a little lamb.”

“I understand that the church hosts a dementia support group, so I hope this new outdoor space provides a safe and soothing sanctuary for its members.”

A staged approach

The project was split into different stages: clearance, water supply, planting, and rockery build.

The first job was to clear the borders of weeds, rubbish, and rubble ready for planting.

Ian added:

The site has recently been landscaped with money from The National Lottery Community Fund, so it wasn’t in a poor state, but it still took us a day to complete. It was hard work, but we had lots of fun in the sunshine and got very competitive about whose border looked the best.”

Ian and the team noticed there wasn’t an outdoor tap to water the plants, so they called upon their contacts at HomeServe, who specialise in emergency home repairs.

Ian explained:

Severn Trent introduces customers to HomeServe to ensure their plumbing and drainage assets should they ever need to be fixed. So, we already have a relationship with them.

“After a quick call, HomeServe sent Jake and Ben to fit a tap inside the garden building so a hosepipe could be used to water the plants. While they were there, they noticed that the sink wasn’t draining properly. They checked the drains and discovered some old cracked and blocked pipes, which they replaced for free. Amazing!!”

Clearing the borders unearthed lots of rocks, which the Severn Trent Searches used to build a pretty rockery. On top of that, they installed three benches.

Ian said: “We were asked to make the garden as bee and butterfly-friendly as possible, so we’ve used many flowering plants. When I returned recently, the border was alive with bees and butterflies, which confirmed we had chosen wisely!”

A delightful result

Severn Trent Searches pays employees to volunteer two days each year to spend time helping the communities they serve.

The creation of this sensory garden is just one example of the many community projects being delivered as part of the organisation’s sustainability plan.

“We so appreciate what you have done for us. We never expected this type of help, and so you have all been such a gift.

“Our thanks also go to those who have helped at HomeServe. It’s just incredible, and I am lost for words to express our gratitude.”

The Severn Trent Searches sensory garden project involved:

For more information, contact