Great Torrington Town Council’s Dementia Friendly Community working group has been working with the national Silent Space project (https://silentspace.org.uk/) and the Great Torrington and District Community Development Trust to create a Silent Space in Great Torrington. This is a national project to create areas where people can find peace and tranquillity in natural settings, to switch off from technology, avoid talking loudly or be silent and enjoy nature.
The new Silent Space is located in the Secret Memorial Garden behind the Castle Hill building in Sydney House car park. The Secret Memorial Garden is a magical space in Great Torrington tucked away behind the town centre shops and main car park. It was created in 2002 from an original design by Jo Winterburn as a memorial to five young boys, evacuees of the Second World War, who tragically lost their lives in a fire close by at Sydney House. In the centre of the garden is a bronze statue of a boy reading a book; a touching tribute to the boys who lost their lives. There is a central knot garden containing herbs such as marjoram, cotton lavender, sage and thyme, all planted in compartments between low box hedging. Benches are scattered through the garden so that visitors can relax and appreciate this special oasis in the middle of the town centre.
The garden will be designated a Silent Space on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons between the hours of 1:30 and 3:30pm each week. The Dementia Friendly Community working group hopes that by designating the Secret Memorial Garden as a Silent Space on these days, people living with dementia and their carers will find respite from the busy world we live in.