Great garden idea becomes reality

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Volunteers flocked to a Harborough care home to create a community garden for the enjoyment of residents.

The ‘Elderberries’ project was carried out at Lenthall House, off Western Avenue.

Adrian Trotter, chairman of the Harborough and Bowdens Charity, described the idea as “pure genius”.

He added: “Our charity is very impressed with this project – volunteers working alongside vulnerable people towards better health and wellbeing.”

The project was the idea of David Palmer, pioneer minister attached to St Dionysius Church in the town.

He began looking at the needs of older people living alone about two years ago, and his first venture was Tea at Three – a monthly tea gathering, which has proved very successful.

Then, as chaplain to Lenthall House, he saw a way of using the home’s grounds, some of it overgrown, to create a space that would benefit the residents and give them contact with local volunteers.

He said: “With help from the Harborough and Bowdens Charity and other smaller donations, not to mention the physical labour of a number of volunteers, we are creating both a courtyard sensory garden, and an area of fruit trees and flowers, with raised beds for growing organic vegetables.

“My aim is to get older residents and volunteers of all ages interacting together. As a symbol of that, the fruit trees we have planted are a combination of old Leicestershire varieties and new hybrids.”

A feature of the opening day was a version of the ancient ‘beating of the bounds’ ritual, led by newcomer to the town’s Anglican team, the Rev James Pickersgill. Those attending were invited to walk around Lenthall House, stopping to pray for God to bless the residents, the staff, and the Elderberries project.

Anyone wanting to volunteer or know more about this innovative new project can contact David Palmer on 07505 968767 for more details. Or turn up at Lenthall House any Wednesday afternoon at 2.30pm with suitable footwear and gardening gloves.