North East Connected

Gardening gloves at the ready for community garden project

A dementia charity is encouraging those living with the condition to rediscover their green fingers at a garden project in Springwell, Gateshead.

Silverline Memories, which runs projects across Newcastle and Gateshead, has recently opened a brand new woodworking studio and workshop for those affected to enjoy at Springwell Community Memory Garden.

Created from a disused shipping container, which was kindly donated by Gateshead Council, this facility gives users the chance to maintain their skills or learn new ones, as well as aiding the maintenance of essential cognitive function.

The new woodworking workshop has strengthened the garden’s Men’s Shed project, which offers men the space, tools and resources to work on projects of their own choosing at their own pace, as well as skill-sharing and giving a sense of purpose and social interaction.

James Hill, project manager, said: “We wanted to add a facility that would bring back skills possibly forgotten by those living with dementia, and that can be passed on to their peers so woodworking seemed the obvious choice.

“The studio is a fantastic addition as it means visitors can be creative and use their imagination before bringing their ideas to life.

“Not only a facility for people with dementia, the studio and garden offer a calm space for their carers and family members to work in, which may not be available elsewhere.”

Founder member, Bobby Hedley, who is living with dementia, has been involved with the garden since its inception in 2014 and visits every week.

He said: “I look forward to coming to the garden and particularly enjoy armchair-gardening with a cup of tea.

“This is a great way to make friends, but the local gossip is limited at the moment so we need more people to join us.”

The garden, which is planning further improvements including beehives in the soon-to-be-completed wildlife zone, as well as a new rose garden, is now benefitting from greater accessibility following Silverline’s success as being named a Big Lottery Fund’s People’s Project.

This funding has enabled the charity to invest in a Memory Bus, offering transport to the garden as well as bi-weekly café groups, tea dances and day trips for more isolated and lonely people with dementia and their carers.

If you would like to get involved in Springwell Community Memory Garden, call James on 0191 603 0095 or email

For more information, visit or call 0191 603 0095 

Twitter: @SilverlineNE / @SpringwellGdn

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