It’s National Gardening Week and Healthier Fleetwood has brought together partners in the Town to provide some TLC for the gardens of housebound and isolated residents.
Volunteers known as the ‘Fleetwood Gardens Buddies’ will be out and about undertaking tasks like mowing lawns and clearing paths. Some of the buddies are taking part after being referred by their GP, as a positive step towards improving their own health and wellbeing.
Kate Baird, Wyre Council development officer for Memorial Park will supervise the small teams. She said, “We already have the Demonstration Garden at the park which provides an opportunity for members of the community to enjoy gardening while they socialise and exercise, the Garden Buddies takes that idea out and about.”
The residents initially benefiting from the project are those who are house bound as result of long-standing health problems and have input from the Fleetwood NHS Home Visiting Service. This is run by Fylde Coast Medical Services (FCMS) on behalf of local GP Practices. James Fothergill of FCMS explained how they were identified. “We asked residents if they felt they would be able to enjoy their gardens if somebody could offer a few hours to do the basics. Many said yes and are looking forward to getting out into their gardens more and the benefits that brings.”
Funding for the equipment used by the Garden Buddies has come from the Lancashire County Council's Champion for Parishes initiative and Fleetwood Town Council. Dawn Spooner, Community Development Officer for the Council said, “We’re delighted to support this project by sourcing the funds for equipment and tools. We hope that other volunteers will come forward, if not for gardening perhaps for other community projects.”
Mark Spencer, GP at Mountview Practice and a leading member of Healthier Fleetwood added, “This project gives the volunteers a real sense of purpose, being able to make a meaningful contribution, whilst also reconnecting the house bound resident back into their community. It’s a great example of Healthier Fleetwood in action.”
The next step is to expand the Garden Buddies beyond the initial group of volunteers and residents involved. Anyone who would like to offer some time to be a ‘buddy’ or to nominate somebody can contact Healthier Fleetwood through email firstname.lastname@example.org