A scented botanical gardens in Dorset is offering a sweet deal for visitors with sight loss as part of a year of fundraising, having chosen to work with Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) during 2022.

Keyneston Mill is holding a fundraising day in aid of RNIB on Tuesday, May 31, where all proceeds from garden entry will go the charity. Free garden tours with an experienced gardener will be running during the day, places available on a first come, first served basis.

Additionally, the attraction is offering free entry to the gardens to anyone with sight loss, all year round, which usually costs £9.50 per person. The offer allows one sighted carer or guide to gain free entry too.

Every day, 250 people in the UK start to lose their sight. RNIB helps people affected by sight loss to build the skills they need to live their lives the way they want to and to break down barriers that hold them back from doing so.

The fundraising day also coincides with an exhibition of painting and ceramics by artist Jan Dagley exploring Art, Scent and Synaesthesia which is running at the gardens from May 28 to June 24.  Jan says her most recent work revolves around her study of synaesthesia – the condition in which information meant to stimulate one of our senses merges with our other senses. The exhibition will include some haiku poems Jan has written available in braille and she will be giving a talk on synaesthesia and her work on the fundraising day.

Dedicated to perfume and scented plants, Keyneston Mill is a botanic garden and 50-acre working estate. It is the home of Parterre Fragrances where the key ingredients for the firm’s perfumes are grown, harvested and distilled. 

Each area of the garden represents a different fragrance family (floral, fern, spice and citrus) so visitors can follow their nose to find wonderful smelling wherever they explore. 

Julia Bridger, a director at Keyneston Mill said: “Scent is a potent wizard’ – so said Hellen Keller, poet and disability rights advocate. At Keyneston Mill we are very much aware of the power of fragrance, and our scented gardens and many of the experiences we run have been designed to encourage visitors to really connect with their sense of smell.  

“We are delighted to be building a relationship with RNIB, raising funds and welcoming those with sight loss to enjoy the gardens and exhibition.”

Richard Shuker, RNIB’s Community Connections Manager for the South West said: “With summer on its way I am really looking forward to getting out and enjoying the wonders of nature and what could be better than touring a botanical gardens and raising funds for charity. Thanks to Keyneston Mill for their support of RNIB and its work supporting people with sight loss. 

“Whatever your interest, be it gardening, gaming or just getting together for a coffee and a chat, RNIB runs Community Connections groups where those affected by sight loss can share experiences and common interests in a welcoming environment.”

The Community Connections groups facilitated by RNIB are made possible thanks to the support of players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

Keyneston Mill also offers a bistro offering outdoor dining as well as a range of craft and wellbeing workshops. The venue is also offering a 25% discount for people with sight loss on its Exploring Scent and Wellness Workshops. On the course, you can sample a range of essential oils, find out which scents relax your and learn how they are used in perfumery. Places on the course are subject to availability. 

Keyneston Mill is located four miles from Blandford Forum, bordered by the River Stour. For more information about the gardens, visit www.keynestonmill.com 

If you or your business would like to support RNIB’s work, you can find out more information about how you can support the charity at www.rnib.org.uk/donations-and-fundraising