12 May

Garden revamp brings joy to customers

An overgrown garden has been transformed into a stunning outdoor living space for customers at a supported housing development in Bodmin.

The backyard scheme is being celebrated as part of Mental Health Awareness Week which has a theme of nature this year to highlight the benefits it can have on mental wellbeing.

We provided funding to resurrect the waste land into a shared space which would ease the loneliness of lockdown and attract an abundance of nature.

Three wiling customers who are supported by LiveWest in the community got to work by clearing brambles and weeds, planting flowers, sowing seeds, putting up fences and painting walls.

The group also made bird boxes, created a homemade BBQ and are growing their own fruit and vegetables.

The garden is now flourishing with lettuces, chillis, potatoes, leeks and strawberries all being grown. The group also collected seeds with the intention to grow small trees and donate them to local woodland.

The aim of the four-month project was not only to create a useable outdoor space for residents to get together, but to attract wildlife to the garden.

Laura Workman, Support Worker for LiveWest, who has overseen the project, said: “Before lockdown customers  had the freedom to access community groups, volunteering opportunities, open space and other various activities that proved vital to their wellbeing.

“However, during lockdown, the way in which we worked had to change dramatically, meaning we were restricted to local walks which were beautiful to begin with but became mundane to the customers  we support.

“With this in mind, and not to lose the importance of being out in nature, getting fresh air and exercise, we proposed to transform a space which was a forgotten garden overgrown with thistles and brambles where there were no flowers for the bees and no visible ground for the birds to forage.

“The sound of nature and having a beautiful outdoor space that you can use is great for mental health.

“We had that in mind when we were redeveloping the garden area. 

“Along with colleagues and customers , the residents who live in the supported scheme are also able to enjoy the space and there seems to be a real sense of pride, accomplishment and responsibility towards the space where everyone can benefit with each season we go through.

“Four months on and bluebells are growing, fruit and vegetables are springing up and a host of wildlife in their surroundings is good for everyone.

“The group deserve enormous credit for the work they put into the project and the positive outcome.”

Paul Garrett is one of our customers who worked on the project and took charge of the DIY as he hung baskets and constructed an outdoor heater and BBQ.

Paul, who was born in Swindon and moved to Cornwall at the age of 10, is now living independently at the scheme and has relished his part in the revamp.

Paul, 49, said: “Working on this has made a massive difference to me. It has given us all somewhere to meet up for a cup of tea and a chat.

“The project gave me something to concentrate on and took away some of the boredom of lockdown.

“I love doing the DIY and people call me Bob the Builder because I enjoy making things.

“It is nice to be surrounded by nature now instead of weeds and bushes. This is my little patch of Heaven.”

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