Green-fingered residents reap health rewards
The eighth National Gardening Week begins today (29th April 2019) and is the nation’s biggest celebration of gardening. The Wrekin Housing Trust is helping to raise awareness of the benefits of getting outside by supporting gardening week’s aims to inspire people of all ages to take up gardening and enjoy growing and eating produce of their own.
Gardening is known to improve your health; by getting outside in the fresh air and preparing your green spaces ready for summer, the benefits have been compared to the effects of regular exercise, whilst also improving your mental health too.
The Trust’s Retirement Living and ShireLiving residents are encouraged each year to work on their own private gardens or create stunning communal garden spaces as a group by entering an annual gardening competition. Categories include best communal garden and a garden in a pot with the results being judged by Weston Park’s Head Gardener, Martin Gee.
Katrina Pooler, Events Co-ordinator for the Trust, explains: “Our annual gardening competition is always very popular. It helps to focus, challenge and inspire individuals and groups to work together and always creates some fantastic gardens and produce.”
Residents at Trust Retirement Living schemes now have an added incentive to get involved thanks to funding from a Veolia EnviroGrant. The award of £1,000 will be used across all schemes to help residents to develop their gardens in an environmentally friendly way and will see the introduction of wildlife friendly elements to make gardens more biologically friendly, to encourage wildlife, whilst helping to also keep residents fit and active.
Katrina continues: “Receiving this grant has reignited our residents’ love for gardening. For some it’s been the inspiration they needed to get back out into the garden and it’s been great to see results so quickly. They are introducing flowers and plants to attract wildlife and installing bird boxes and bee hotels which are being made locally.”
Community group Men in Sheds from Madeley has also been getting involved by making the bird boxes and bee hotels.
Willie Gormley, Chair of Men in Sheds said: “We’re really pleased to be able to get involved with this community project. Making the boxes provides a great reason for our retired men to get together and make things, which is what we are all about.”
ShireLiving’s over 55’s complex The Coppice in Bicton, Shrewsbury has incorporated raised beds within the communal garden space and its gardening club meets regularly to share ideas, plant and socialise.
Support Worker, Bernie Jarvis who runs the gardening club says: “All abilities can benefit from our communal garden. Even people that are physically unable to help much are able to enjoy its peace and help with ideas and advice. Our gardening volunteers all do a little bit when they feel able. Some can bend, some can’t. We have some very experienced gardeners who may not be able to do much now but tell us what to do! In our meetings we plan what we would like to achieve and which plants to buy. Last year we used an honesty box to sell produce and the money we raised has allowed us to buy a huge variety of seeds and flowers to grow.”
Many of this group have enjoyed gardening in the past, but due to changes in their circumstances have had to leave gardens which they have nurtured for years. Several have donated tools to the club and now enjoy seeing them being used again and benefit from the fruits of their labour.
To find out more about our Wrekin Retirement Living and ShireLiving schemes and the services that are offered, please visit: https://www.wrekinhousingtrust.org.uk/Section/Supporting-You. All available properties are advertised through the Trust’s website where you can find out more about applying for a home.
Pictured below are: One of our ShireLiving residents potting plants in a raised bed planter and one of the Men in Sheds team showing off his handy work making bird boxes.
29th April 2019