Garden project bears fruit with award nomination!
Published by rtownsend for Sanctuary Housing Association in Communities and also in Environment, Health, Housing
Riviera Growing Communities
A project that has seen new friendships and healthier lifestyles flourish among residents in Torbay through gardening is in line for a national award.
Riviera Growing Communities has turned unused areas at eight sheltered housing schemes into green havens where residents can socialise and grow their own fruit and veg.
With funding from leading housing and care provider Sanctuary Group and the involvement of residents, the project has transformed the plots with raised flower beds, sheds, attractive seating, paving and fruit trees.
It has helped encourage residents to get out of their homes and socialise with each other while getting physical activity in their new garden space as they dig deep to produce healthy fresh food.
The project, which has been delivered by The Conservation Volunteers (TCV), has now been shortlisted in the Improving Neighbourhoods category of the National Housing Federation’s Community Impact Awards 2012 for the South West.
Richard Keeley, Sanctuary’s head of housing operations (South West), said: “We are delighted to see this fantastic project recognised in this way.
“Riviera Growing Communities has been a huge success locally and has provided a blueprint to help bring people together elsewhere in the country.
“It’s been inspiring to see how creating a green social space like this can transform lives for the better – both in terms of people’s physical health and state of mind.”
Prince Charles Court is one sheltered scheme for older people in Torbay where residents have benefited from the project.
A resident from the scheme commented: “The gardening project has changed the whole atmosphere here. People who never spoke to each other before are now socialising and enjoying each other’s company.
“It has made a huge difference to people’s mental wellbeing, as well as the benefits of healthier eating and more physical activity.”
Riviera Growing Communities is a two-year project and reflects an increased interest in ‘green’ skills over the last decade, as people realise the importance of maintaining green spaces.
The project has included weekly sessions at each of the sites, including sowing seeds, composting and harvesting, plus regular community events and participation in competitions.