Volunteers create sensory garden at West Lothian retirement development


Green-fingered tenants at a West Lothian retirement development have been given the welcome addition of a new herb garden.

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West Lothian volunteers

Bield’s Ochilview Court in Armadale hopes to offer tenants with increased opportunities to socialise in a communal area of the development and to join in on the outdoor activities that the garden offers.

The Conservation Volunteers (TCV), a community volunteering charity, whose goal is to create healthier, happier communities through gardening activities, assisted in building a bench space next to the new herb garden, providing a relaxed seating for tenants to enjoy.

The volunteers from the local area, some of whom have mental or physical health issues, were supervised by the tenants as they planted 80 trees and shrubs. Tenants can now pick fruit and will be able to plant herbs in the spring that can be used for cooking including parsley, rosemary and mint.

The project has been funded from a grant and is one of several further ventures that TCV have in the pipeline with Bield at other developments across the country.

Lucy Graham, a Community Outreach Officer involved in the project, said: “Tenants were asked from the outset what sort of trees they wanted planting, as well as their ideas about the layout of the garden so that they would be actively participating in the planning process.

“We very much enjoyed working with everyone at Ochilview Court and we are looking forward to our other upcoming projects with Bield.”

Mabelanne Fraser, Development Manager at Ochilview Court, said: “Everyone is delighted with the new garden. The raised beds and seating area provide tenants with an area to socialise, enjoy the fresh air and take in the outdoors.

“We are very pleased with the apple trees planted just outside that give the development a welcoming and friendly feel.

“We are all hugely grateful for the help in realising this wonderful addition to Ochilview and it has enabled us to bring our ‘Free to Be’ philosophy to life.”

Bield is a registered charity that came from humble beginnings, starting out with just one development in Bo’ness to become a major provider of a wide range of housing and services for around 20,000 older people across 23 local authority areas.


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