If you fancy trying to ‘grow your own’ this year, but lack the garden space to do it, why not volunteer for the Garden Partners scheme, run by Age UK Wandsworth?
The charity matches volunteer gardeners with garden owners aged 60-plus who need a bit of help. The volunteer carries out general gardening tasks, as well as growing fruit and vegetables, which they and the garden owner share.
Age UK would also like to hear from older garden owners who would like to take part in the scheme, which runs across the borough of Wandsworth.
"With an average wait of up to six years for an allotment in Wandsworth, this is a great way of getting access to more gardening and growing space, as well as making a new friend," said Garden Partners coordinator Sarah Jackson.
More than 85 garden partnerships have been set up in the past three years. The scheme, which is funded by NHS Wandsworth, aims to promote healthier living and community involvement.
The scheme has been a lifeline for Battersea resident, Susan, who was battling a number of serious health problems when she contacted Garden Partners last year. Despite a love of gardening, she did not have the energy to look after her back garden as she once had.
Susan was introduced to volunteers Karen and Owain, both in their early 30s, who lived on the sixth floor of a nearby tower block. Both of them work full-time and had long wanted the opportunity to garden in the evenings and at weekends.
In a very short time all the weeds were cleared, and the ground was prepared for planting. Over the summer, the three grew beans, tomatoes, courgettes, beetroot, squashes, spinach, cucumber and salad leaves.
Susan loves having an attractive, productive garden once more and enjoys her friendship with Karen and Owain. "It has changed my life completely, I feel so much better than I did. I was so depressed, but this has given me a project to look forward to," said Susan.
Karen and Owain have recently moved away, but are staying in touch with Susan. "We really enjoyed working outside in the garden, seeing its transformation though the year and sharing the fruits of our labour with Susan," said Owain.
For more information, visit www.ageuk.org.uk/wandsworth/Our-services/Garden-Partners or call Sarah Jackson on 020 8877 8946.
April 18, 2012