Shamrock House is a small sheltered housing scheme in Whitehouse in Ipswich. Following an initial visit by Groundwork and a subsequent workshop consultation, it emerged that residents were reluctant to use the patio adjacent to the communal lounge area because it was raised and exposed to passers-by on the main road.
Groundwork devised a plan to improve the area through some imaginative new planting, the construction of a new raised bed, the repair of a fence and the planting of a number of pleached trees that will act as a natural screen providing shelter and privacy to the residents wishing to use the patio area.
A local charity partner, ActivLives was engaged to implement the patio improvements along with planting a wildflower meadow in the lawn to the rear of the scheme. ActivLives recruit volunteers to help communities in disadvantaged areas of Ipswich deliver projects that improve wellbeing though positive activity……in this case….the opportunity to garden and enjoy outdoor spaces.
The project has improved the patio area significantly and will create a natural screen once the trees are planted in the late autumn. It is hoped and expected that the improvements will encourage more interest in gardening by the residents.
Ric Staines, Volunteer Leader & lead Horticulturalist and Training officer said: “The volunteers from a diverse range of backgrounds and ages all gained immensely from their involvement in this project. The chance to work on a real life project, work as a team and utilise and develop their gardening and construction skills gave them all a real boost to their confidence. The residents watched the construction keenly and rushed out to inspect the finished work. The final comment from the volunteers was “where and when is the next project?” This sums it all up!”
Shaun Mullen, Volunteer said: “The project was different to what we normally do on the allotments. Being away and doing different things is interesting. I volunteer two days a week with ActivLives after being referred from the job centre. I like to work outdoors and it’s satisfying to see the results of what we did at Shamrock House and that the old people seemed to really like what we did.”