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Health + DESIGN + Community = Wellbeing

Grangemead is an emergency respite and daycare for learning disabled adults in East Sussex. Culture Shift brokered a connection between East Sussex County Council Adult Social Services and the University of Brighton (Community 21) to lead a 3-way partnership project to develop the outdoor space. 

We created the design for the garden in collaboration with staff, learning disabled participants and University design professionals and students.  Culture Shift’s role was to support and evaluate the co-design process, capturing outcomes, impact and learning.  


Project planning began in November 2017, aiming to;  


  • engage the staff and service users (guests) at Grangemead in the design process 


  • nurture a sense of ownership, responsibility and respect for the garden within the community of Grangemead 


  • create a garden which fulfills the aspirations of the Grangemead community and is fit for purpose and sustainable  

In June 2019, the official opening of the garden was celebrated. The multi-purpose space includes a wildlife pond, an outdoor kitchen, moveable and accessible planting boxes, a garden gallery, and a maker space.   

"People are so pressured now.  In the past, people often didn't take breaks but had a sandwich at their desks  etc  but they are taking breaks now.  Just enjoying getting outside is a good thing. There's more social interaction and the garden will be great for this.  Our work can be pretty intense sometimes and the garden will be a great place to go, just to get out for a change of air."  [Grangemead staff member]


Culture Shift and Community 21 continue to work with East Sussex County Council to support staff engagement and continue to develop the garden and disseminate the project learning. This film about the Grangemead Garden project was made to present at the 2020 University of Brighton Degree Show alongside a live Q&A attended by design graduates. 

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In this presentation, you will find Julia in conversation with Sue Booker and Nick Gant, along with photographs documenting the design process and the garden in action. This project is a wonderful example of the benefits and value of truly inclusive co-production and design. 


You can read more about the project from Community 21 and a summary outline of the project is available to download here

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