The idea of the garden being to make a space where residents could sit and have a variety of things to look at, as well as triggering other senses like smell with the use of fragranced flowers and hearing with the sound of wind chimes. Already the area contained a crazy golf course alongside herbs and vegetables.
An appeal was posted on Facebook for donations for this project and soon the care home was receiving items such as; decking, paving slabs, seeds, plants as well as an amazing amount of advice.
Amanda Odd, Home Manager at Amherst Court said; “People have been so generous and kind and it’s lovely to see that people are so willing to help to try and enhance the lives of the elders in our community. This project has truly been a labour of love from the staff at Amherst, mainly the Activities Co-Ordinators and the Maintenance team, but also shows the importance of community life and how the whole community can get involved to ensure this is a sustained lifelong project.”
Kent Police, have also been involved with this project. Police students attend the home on equality and diversity placements, which helps the student officers gain more of an understanding of Dementia and how it affects people.
As well as the 15 volunteers coming along to; dig, plant, sew, build and paint, Barclays also donated £1,000 with contributions from other local sources too. Items such as two arbors, that were constructed by a father and son team, (the father having Dementia), cost only the price of the wood and one of the Barclays volunteers made the seating covers. A donation was also made by St Stephens Church of Flanders poppy seeds to commemorate the First World War.
Residents from Amherst were taken to choose a statue and water feature, the “winter boy” figurine was chosen and duly named Oliver. This was then painted by one of the volunteers and he now takes pride of place in the garden.
Recently after being on a waiting list for over a year, Amherst Court also attained an allotment plot and thanks to the involvement of the ‘Community Payback Team’, youth offenders have helped to clear the allotment.
Amanda continued; “There is still a lot of work to do, but we are so grateful to Barclays Bank for their generosity and their sheer hard work and also Kent Police. This has been a real community project and without their support none of this would have been possible.”
Avante Care & Support Trustee, Bob Bushell was in attendance to plant a tree and to thank all those volunteering their time.