The main purpose of the group is to combat loneliness and isolation within the community and providing meaningful activity and training that benefit all. The ages of the participants range from 5-94 which enforces that it is a whole community approach. The group have worked exceptionally hard to be inclusive of all and have overcome many barriers such as funding, access for people with different levels of mobility and people with varying mental health needs. The group have tackled all of this with the fantastic support of Jim, the project lead, and have democratised Mardy Park eliminating any issues with access. It is now accessible to all community members regardless of any mobility issues. The work carried out has not just been focused on access to the building, but also thwe gardening space. Polytunnels have been specifically designed for wheelchairs so everyone can get involved in the gardening. This gives all members of the community a sense of purpose rather than just tokenistic activities.
A portion of the residents that attend the project have varying mental health needs but this is managed in such a positive way that all stigma is removed and no one is judged. Anxieties are reduced for the time that residents are involved in activity and they are constantly improving their social skills and enhancing their well-being. The group have more than come together as a whole community approach: improving communications, social skills, sense of belonging and a providing safe place for members of the community to be themselves.
Another positive of the project is that a wide range of other community groups can and do access the project. In the last 12 months the project has assisted Women's Aid, a local dementia group and a specialist brain injury unit who refer many patients to the. The garden provides a safe space for all of the groups where they are able to sit and enjoy the beautiful gardens that have all been planted and nurtured for by participants of the project.
They also benefit the wider community by donating their vegetables a local cooking course for residents working to improve their cooking skills.
Without a shadow of a doubt, this project has shown a long-standing commitment to improving the wellbeing of the residents within their local community and should be celebrated for the achievements that they have made.