New community garden launched to help protect older people’s wellbeing Tuesday 27 November 2018

Older people in Anglesey are picking up trowels and forks to fight loneliness at a newly opened community garden.

New community garden launched to help protect older people’s wellbeing

Gorwel, a support service which helps vulnerable people live independently, has launched a community garden in Llangefni, providing residents with a space to become involved in gardening and socialise more.

The project, which is run by Gorwel in partnership with Anglesey County Council’s Supporting People Team, is part of an effort to reduce loneliness and depression in older people, who may experience little interaction outside of their homes.

The garden has opened following months of preparation from volunteers, including Llangefni residents who raised £360 for garden equipment at a local ASDA supermarket.

Pupils from special educational needs school Canolfan Addysg y Bont also pitched in on the project, helping tend to the garden’s allotment as part of a work experience placement.

Builders merchants Jewson’s Llangefni store has kindly gifted the garden a shed for storage.

The garden’s features include raised plants installed by local service programmes, with residents also getting involved by creating an outdoor mosaic.

Osian Ellis, assistant manager at Gorwel, said: “We came up with the community garden after speaking to our regular participants, who suggested the idea of having somewhere to be active.

“As older people don’t always have the chance or ability to enjoy a garden at home, the space is ideal for them to be outdoors in a friendly and welcoming environment.

“There’s no obligation to do any gardening – it’s also a social centre for people to enjoy and feel part of.

“Beyond that, we want it to act as a preventative measure against mental health issues like depression, which the older generation can suffer from without regular chances to get out and socialise.”

Arwel Jones, principal development officer of housing services at Anglesey County Council, said: “The Council’s Housing Service welcome any new and innovative projects that provide opportunities for vulnerable people to participate, socialise and promote social inclusion.

“As service commissioners, of housing related support, via the Supporting People Programme Grant, we would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Gorwel, for their proactive approach in engaging and collaborating with key wider stakeholders in order to improve the wellbeing of the older community and tackle the issue of isolation.

“Furthermore, we are extremely grateful for the financial contributions and item donations of the local and national organisations, where without, it would not have been possible to establish this new venture.

“We look forward to hearing more about further developments and positive outcomes for some of Anglesey’s older citizens as a result of this exiting new project.”

Rhun Ap Iorweth, AM for Ynys Mon, added: “This is a great initiative and another example of the vitally important work Gorwel do to help some of the most vulnerable in our community.

“It is a great opportunity for residents to be more active, to socialise, and perhaps do a bit of gardening as well, and Gorwel deserve every credit for what is sure to be a very important and positive addition to the work that they do for their residents.

“Being active is great for your physical health and wellbeing, but it is also very important for your mental health too, and as well as giving residents the chance to discover their green fingers with a spot of gardening, this community garden will give everyone an opportunity to socialise more frequently. Congratulations to Gorwel and County Council for their hard work on this project – I’m sure it’ll be a great success.”

Gorwel, a unit within Grŵp Cynefin and is available to social and private tenants, as well as owner-occupiers.

The organisation’s main focus is to provide support services in the field of domestic violence and homelessness prevention. Its projects include refuges, supported housing schemes, children and young people services, support in the community and independent domestic violence advisory service.

The Supporting People programme provides housing-related support to help vulnerable people live as independently as possible. It supports more than 57,000 people a year, with 37,000 of those older people.

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