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!
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’.
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.
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!
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!
The Red Shed Project has run all through the winter, however cold and grey it has been. We have a wonderful activity shed that provides a great space for keeping warm and getting creative. We have learned all sorts of new craft techniques from Collage to Kokodamas we have been keeping busy. Living with dementia doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t get on and learn new skills – these wonderful pieces are proof!
Today we held our first Stakeholders meeting. Our volunteer team and Garden Club participants were all invited to look back at last year and help to make plans for this year.
It was great to get together and to have feedback from the people that come along to our workshops. As an organisations we feel its vital to make sure that their voices are a part of our planning for the future – then we know that our service is relevant, accessible and generally hits the right spot!
There were lots of ideas including – Jigsaws for a rainy day (obviously garden pictures!), our own Quiz Night, a hanging basket workshop and a BBQ in our garden. There were also lots of suggestions about involving the community around us. It’s so positive that the feeling to get involved with our neighbours was high on everyones priorities. Part of our mission is to ‘help reduce isolation’ and create oppotunities for ‘better understanding of the effects of living with dementia’ and ‘promote cross-generational, interaction and understanding’.
…….So, it looks like we’re on track and that we’ve got a busy schedule to plan for 2020!
Our goal for our first year was to build a garden and start regular workshops for people living with dementia, their carers and families. Looking back over the last very busy months it looks like we have acheived that goal and even more.
We have a fabulous garden, designed with help from our Garden Club members to be dementia friendly, safe and accessable.
Our Garden Club is established and with our Lottery Funding we will be able to run it for a further year.
Carers had the oppotunity to learn some new crafts over the summer .
We have led workshops around the County for other organisations providing a service for people living with dementia.
Through Sing-Songs, coffee mornings, quiznights and more we have joined with the local community for events both in our garden and out and about.
Behind the scenes we have received donations from individuals and organisations. Set up all our govenance, from policies and proceedures, business plans, action plans and plans of plans!
And – most importantly – from feedback we have received, we know we have made a difference, sometimes small and sometimes very big, to a lot of people who have been touched by the work of The Red Shed Project during 2019.
Now its time to celebrate and look forward to 2020. Merry Christmas everone!