The driving force behind this project is none other than Ben Manning, an 84-year-old resident (pictured left) whose green fingers and unwavering dedication have breathed life into the gardens of Barnard House.
Ben, whose flowers and vegetables have become a source of admiration for the entire neighbourhood, shared his vision to enhance the garden when he met with Sheena Starrett, our Community Resilience Officer for Southwark, during her visit to the independent living scheme in July.
Ben's dream included transforming the communal room's balcony into a more inviting, safe, and accessible outdoor space for gardening enthusiasts among the residents.
And building contractor Wates swiftly stepped in, making Ben's dream a reality with remarkable efficiency. They provided a brand-new bench and thoughtfully designed planters, making gardening a comfortable experience, eliminating the need for residents to stoop down to flower pots.
A vibrant outdoor oasis that encourages residents to sit, chat, enjoy the scenic River Thames, and nurture their favourite flowers and herbs.
The collaborative spirit between Wates and us made this project possible. Sheena Starrett, working closely with scheme manager Lailynda Sagana, applied for grants from our grant programs to further enrich the lives of Barnard House residents. Dawn Hart, who has tirelessly run an Art Club at the scheme for the past two decades, was awarded a generous Making Lives Better grant of £200. Additionally, Ben and fellow green-thumbed enthusiasts received a Gardening Neighbours grant worth £410, which will be instrumental in the continued development of the garden.
As we gathered to celebrate, we had the privilege of honouring Ada Parker, a remarkable resident who was on the brink of turning 100 the following day. Ada, a symbol of resilience and longevity, was presented with a beautiful bouquet of flowers from Wates and we added a heart-warming hamper. Her presence added a touch of inspiration and served as a reminder of the enduring spirit that thrives at Barnard House.
The completion of this garden improvement project not only enhances the physical space but also exemplifies the sense of community and togetherness that we stand for. It is a testament to what can be achieved when passionate residents like Ben Manning, dedicated professionals like Sheena Starrett, supportive grant programs, and proactive partners like Wates come together.