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Blooming Beauties - Care homes get help from their communities to improve gardens and health

Care homes get help from their communities to improve gardens and health

Flowers, vegetable patches and homes for hedgehogs are helping to forge links between care home residents and local communities across north and east Hertfordshire in a joint project between East and North Hertfordshire CCG and Herts Care Providers Association (HCPA) and funded by Tesco.

Caring Gardens, is a project that aims to bring local community groups and volunteers into their local care home to develop a bright and beautiful garden space for the home, and sow the seeds for a blossoming relationship between the care home and its community.

HCPA’s horticultural therapists, from its SMILE team, help care home residents decide what they want to see in their gardens and then with the help of local volunteers put their vision into practice through activities such as planting up flower/vegetable beds, creating hanging baskets and garden art, such as mosaics.

Funding to the tune of £8,000 came from the Tesco Bags of Help initiative – which supports local projects from the 5p charge for plastic carrier bags. It will enable SMILE’s horticultural therapists to deliver an initial 12 week programme of support, with the volunteers then taking the lead in helping the care home maintain and care for its  garden.

Caring Gardens will be delivered in five care homes across east and north Hertfordshire: The Hollies, Broxbourne; The White House, Letchworth; Martins House, Stevenage; Bentley House, Hertford; and St Audrey’s, Hatfield. 

HCPA has already carried out similar projects in Watford and Dacorum, and there is now a growing field of research proving that elderly residents who get involved in gardening improve their health, confidence and social interaction.

Sharon Davies, Chief Executive Officer of HCPA, said:

“We know our therapeutic horticulture sessions are popular and well received in care homes across Hertfordshire and we are always looking for ways to fund these types of projects which really provide meaningful engagement for the residents.” 

The scheme was launched last week at The Hollies, Broxbourne with residents deciding they wanted to see raised beds, hanging baskets and a hedgehog house in their garden.

Volunteers from Hertfordshire County Council’s Learning Disabilities Day Centre in Brocket Road, Hoddesdon will be helping in the garden at The Hollies.

Caring Gardens is part of a programme of work which is working to provide better care for frail, elderly care home residents.