Keeping busy, staying connected

Although our dementia garden is closed due to COVID restrictions, we are still delivering activities and keeping in touch with our regular participants at home. It’s really important to stay connected as feelings of isolation are never far away in these difficult times. Our participants are still able to feel the benefits of gardening and getting creative, it’s especially important as the seeds that they are sowing will make sure that our dementia garden is blooming abundant in the summer.

Not just keeping busy but being purposeful is a great way to maintain wellbeing.

Deck the Doors with boughs of Holly

There was no Christmas Party for The Red Shed this year, with COVID restrictions still in place. But we were able to get into the Christmas mood by making some beautiful festive wreaths and table decorations for our homes. It’s been a tough year for The Red Shed and all our participants, so it was good to end on a high note.
It was also the first time we were able to work under our new Gazebo. It has clear sides to let in lots of light and allows us to still see the garden. There are just three sides to allow good airflow and the roof helps keep the damp and cold at bay. It’s a great new facility – particularly as a sheltered space for those of us who do more seated gardening. The Gazebo was an idea to help us increase our workspace under COVID guidelines, but it’s clear to see that this particular COVID led decision is going to be an asset in The Red Shed garden for years to come – a perfect Christmas present!!

Creating, learning and getting together – just what we all need……….

This week we ran several craft workshops – in the warm and dry thanks to our neighbours St Josephs who lent us their hall. The workshops were a chance to learn something new. We used willow to make lanterns, carved happy pumpkins and were introduced to Air Plants and making them into fabulous and unusual indoor gardens.

At The Red Shed we continually try to encourage people to try something different. The is a great sense of achievement in creating wonderful things and then taking them home to ‘show off’ to family and friends.

Pat was able to carve pumpkins at home with her grand-daughter, Viv was so please she had created a little garden that made her think of being ‘away somewhere nice’ and Tim felt good to be able to use his construction skills to build a lantern – with great accuracy!

These are the last of our Lets Get Going! workshops and we have been able to encourage over 50 people to get out and get going again after the first COVID lockdown. Hopefully we have given people some positive feelings that will help them through the next lockdown – looking forward to meeting again in December………..

Happy Birthday The Red Shed!

Its two years since The Red Shed Project was first registered and we are so pleased and a little amazed by what has been achieved. We were really lucky this week to have a visit from a professional photographer – Stephanie Belton. She came to the project with some other visitors from Herts Community Foundation – one of our major funders, to take a look around and take these wonderful pictures. They make a wonderful record of the project aged 2!!

August Abundance

At The Red Shed garden we have got some wonderful vegetables growing.

They have all been planted from seed, probably by one of our gardeners while they are seated on the patio and perhaps in their wheelchair. Because they are relatively quick to grow, they are being picked an enjoyed by those same gardeners.

Vegetables are a part of our life and we can reminisce on favourite recipes and good times sharing a meal. The smell, shapes and colours are all great for our senses to enjoy, then to top it off there is the feeling of pride in growing something delicious and taking them home to share with family and friends.

Once everything is harvested we can start collecting seeds and planning for our veg patch next year – something for us all to look forward too!

Let’s Get Going!

After months of lock down, we are now able to open our garden gate again. First to come back to The Red Shed garden was our Garden Club. It was great to see everyone. We had to split into two 1 hour sessions to keep numbers to the 6 allowed by current guidelines. We are so lucky to have an outdoor space and be able to meet again – with lots of antibac wipes, gloves and an eye on social distancing.
In addition to our Garden Club, we are delighted to have recieved funding from HCF and HCC to run an initiative through the summer which we have called ‘Lets Get Going!’ We aim to welcome to our garden as many people as possible who’s lives are affected by dementia and to provide them with the oppotunity to meet in small, supportive, socially distanced groups. 
There will be a choice of
·         Art and Craft workshops 
·         Garden activities
·         The chance to take a walk and get moving again – at any pace!
All our activities will be suitable for any ability. 
Our experienced staff and volunteers will be on hand to support and ensure that the necessary hygiene, PPE requirements and social distancing is maintained.
Our outdoor space is a perfect place to exercise and socialise, and our summer sessions will help improve physical and mental wellbeing.  This initiative will also help to reduce the feeling of isolation and begin to re-build confidence after ‘lockdown’.

Keeping in Touch

We have been sending out regular updates to all our Garden Club members and volunteers. As well as letting people know what’s going on in The Red Shed garden, we have included: pictures folk have sent to us, some gardening tips, interesting facts and anything to keep people in touch and stay connected. During this difficult time, it is more important than ever to ensure that people who are living with the effects of Dementia still feels included and less isolated. Our Pumpkin Club and other ‘grow at home’ initiatives, also aim to encourage people to get out into their own gardens or utilise their windowsills to continue to benefit from nurturing plants.

The Red Shed Rolls On….

Remote gardening activities and fresh veg from The Red Shed Garden is all being provided safely to people living with Dementia and their carers. Some usually come to The Red Shed Garden Clubs others are members of organisations such as Crossroads, Open Art Box and Bayfield Care Homes. The Tomato Plants have all been grown by The Red Shed Garden Club, in their conservatories, greenhouses or windowsills. They are now being distributed to others living with with effects of Dementia in this difficult ‘Lock Down’ period. True community spirit is alive and well!

Coronavirus Action Plan

During the Coronavirus Lockdown, The Red Shed Project has had to close the garden. It is still being maintained, watered and new seeds planted with the aim that it will be florishing when the Garden Clubs are open again. We have also kept in contact with everyone and provided some ‘remote’ activies to keep people connected to The Project and to the outside. A weekly newsletter ‘Whats Growing On?’ is being sent out to all the service users and volunteers, to make sure that everyone is in touch and up to date with the current news from the garden and The Project.

During our last Garden Club session we were able to give out Tomato seeds for people to take home and nurture. From the updates we have received these are growing really well.

We have also started up a Pumpkin Club and are getting out more seeds, pots and compost to people living with dementia around Hertfordshire. Our hope is that we will be clear to have a social event later in the year and get together for a Pumpkin Festival to celebrate being back together.

We have also been able to deliver some of the vegetables and flowers that are ready in the garden. It’s been so lovely to know that they are being enjoyed by the people who grew them!

Hertfordshire Dementia Network

Today was the first meeting of the Hertfordshire Dementia Network. Su from The Red Shed Project, Anji and Christina from Open Artbox and Bridget from Moving Through Life have joined together to create the Hertfordshire Dementia Network. The Network is for micro enterprises who provide therapeutic services for people living with dementia and their carers. The group will provide support and an exchange point for ideas as well as a hub for cross referral and oppotunities to work together. We are so excited to be a part of this!