LEARNING and growing together, older people living at Wardley Gate Care Centre and pupils from Lingey Lane Primary School have created a vibrant community garden.
What was an overgrown, unloved block of land at the setting in Gateshead has become a lush space residents enjoy spending time in together with their families and staff.
The garden with its raised beds, pots, shed and allotment are the result of months of hard work by residents working alongside textiles artists and horticulturalists supported by older people’s charity Equal Arts.
Rael Rawlinson from the charity has visited the group each week over the summer to support residents in gardening sessions. She said: “Growing Up, Growing Old was all about intergenerational, creative and informal sessions, old and young could take part in and enjoy.
“Hearing the group sharing stories and advice during the sessions has been lovely as has seeing how their creations have developed each week, resulting in a fantastic space they can all have real pride in.”
The garden was official unveiled at a celebratory afternoon by 103-year-old resident Doris Stubbs, a former dancer who regales people with tales of her time on stage with Fred Astaire.
Doris said: “Every Thursday we get together to, take part and talk. I enjoy being around people and how sociable it is.”
The setting, run Enhanced Elderly Care, has been a member of Equal Arts’ HenPower Project for 18 months.
Currently in more than 50 care homes across the UK the project piloted in Gateshead, combines hen-keeping and creative activities to improve wellbeing and reduce loneliness.
Lynne Niven, Wardley Gate’s activity coordinator, said: “This project and being a part of HenPower is just fantastic. We’ve got nine hens which we hatched, all named after district nurses!
“Before, the garden was underused and needed some TLC, it wasn’t practical. It needed some attention and it’s great residents have had a hand in creating this space.
“We’ve been trying different creative activities and visual arts each week, with an outdoor gallery for residents’ work, the shed and raised beds. Everyone has thoroughly enjoyed themselves.”
To find out more about Equal Arts and HenPower or to volunteer visit www.equalarts.org.uk