Wigan borough community brings care village gardens ambition to fruition
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It came during the final resurgence of summer, with Atherton locals assisting Belong care village on their garden transformation to build an ecosystem that anyone can enjoy.
Thanks to the work of both customers and volunteers, the Mealhouse Lane grounds have welcomed the addition of a greenhouse, vegetable troughs and raised planters, together creating the perfect home for flowers. and the new garden will also attract birds, insects, and wildlife. The benefits of a new kitchen garden have already been realised with herbs being used in cooking, such as coriander adding a kick to carrot soup.
Kim Calland, experience coordinator at Belong Atherton, said: "We have lovely dementia friendly gardens and our customers asked if we could have more vibrancy, more wildlife, and bring more of the outside world in. They were also keen to lead the project themselves and for it to have an element of sustainability, so we're growing our own fruit and vegetables for meals, as well as flowers to add a splash of colour inside and out."
Residents have been geting involved on the village’s terraces, planting hanging baskets, filling bird feeders and keeping bird baths topped up.
Light gardening has been shown to have a number of wellbeing benefits for those with dementia and by keeping green fingers busy it helps to increase both strength and balance as well as enhancing sensory stimulation.
The project has been made possible thanks to funding from Greater Manchester Integrated Care Partnership as well as generous donations from residents, apartment tenants and their families. Work commenced earlier this year before gaining momentum when the village welcomed more volunteers to mark The Big Help Out, as part of His Majesty The King's coronation celebrations in May.
Kim continues: "Our customers have been loving it. Many of them are gardening enthusiasts and have relished being able to teach colleagues about what we need, where best to plant certain species, how to do it. It's been a wonderful experience for all - now, we're hoping for some autumn sunshine, but at least we can appreciate the gardens, whatever the weather!"