During 2018 Growing Together Devon will be offering two services:
For the individual
This is a subsidised garden maintenance service. Clients usually receive a referral through carer or voluntary organisations. Pete and Tracey undertake regular garden maintenance tasks. A charge is only made for one person. Clients can also have support to undertake light gardening tasks: re-potting, planting out hanging baskets, and so forth. We provide all the equipment.
For carers, cared for, and voluntary groups
Growing Together Devon run table top gardening sessions for carer and voluntary groups. No previous experience is necessary. Sessions are accessible to everyone. Our oldest ‘gardener’ was 99! This is a free service. The key purpose of Joining Hands is to allow us to socialise around simple and enjoyable gardening activities. The emphasis is on socialising, so sessions include tea and coffee.
The benefits to clients
✔︎ Reducing the social isolation of older people
Bereavement, age related illness and reduced mobility can lead to social isolation. Common experience recognises that older people are particularly vulnerable to loneliness and depression. Our gardening clubs address this issue.
✔︎ Improving the wellbeing of older people
Gardening is one of the most popular activities in the UK. Experience shows that gardening can foster improved physical health and emotional well-being.
✔︎ Helping older people maintain independence
For many older people living at home, not coping with their garden can be a worry. Support with even simple tasks such as changing bird feeders can help.
When it comes to gardening Jill, pictured with Pete above, is something of a natural. Owing to a respiratory condition she finds now herself attached to an oxygen machine. Thanks to the charity Growing Together Devon, she can still do what she loves.
What happens during a gardening session?
We have table-top gardening sessions every two weeks. All materials are placed within reach and we’re given support to sow seeds, plant on seedlings, and to plant out pots to keep for ourselves. There’s usually lots of chatter. Some haven’t gardened before, while others are very experienced. But it is good-natured and people help each other. We have tea and biscuits afterwards.
What are the benefits?
It keeps me doing something I love. I miss buying my plants at the Friday market in Honiton: I got to know the plant lady very well. These sessions help me to grow plants outside of my flat window and the gardener comes and waters them and keeps them tidy. He stops to ask me about them. Gardening is very enjoyable, and having plants nearby is very relaxing.
We are listening to you
Pete and Tracey gave a presentation to the Sidvale Carers’ Support Group meeting on 12th February 2018.
The photos show the group members discussing our feedback form. We asked if they could say what value they, or someone they know, would place on the two services we offer, and to make any suggestions they could give to help us shape what we provide.
Everyone showed a good understanding of what was on offer, and how it related to their own situations or to someone they knew. The feedback was very useful and constructive.