A group of children from the local Hickory Montessori Nursery came along to help plant some pretty flowers in pots to decorate the front of the Arthur Bliss scheme in Lindfield, Sussex. It was a great chance for the different generations to spend some time together, especially as many of the residents don’t have grandchildren of their own or their family live a long way away.

Several residents who have recently moved into the scheme used to  enjoy their own gardens and they wanted this to continue following their move. This scheme has several outside areas that needed a bit of tender loving careso the staff and residents decided to create a vegetable area, wildlife garden, hanging baskets and pots at the front of the building and herbs on the patio.

Many of the residents have care needs which can make it difficult to do all the things they used to do buthaving the help of the staff and children made the planting session lots of fun.

Sheila, below right,  a wheelchair user who moved into the scheme in December 2017, greatly enjoyed having the visitors; “We all love seeing the children, it really lifts the mood, especially if we can’t see our own grandchildren.” Sheila explained that her grandchildren are all grown up and while her family have just welcomed her first great-grandson, he lives in Devon so it’s difficult to visit.

One of Sheila’s daughters, Zoe, was visiting her mum from Australia, and the visit has alleviated some of her worries; “Mum and Dad moved in here together and it’s a really nice place. Dad has been in hospital for seven weeks but knowing mum is here getting the help she needs means I don’t have to worry about her.”

Little girl gardening at Arthur Bliss House

Another resident, Dave, was the first to volunteer to help in the garden. Dave, who also uses a wheelchair, moved in two years ago and was keen to help out; “I used to like gardening and it’s great to keep active. I also like having the children around; they don’t judge, they just get on. My sister had three children but I never had my own children and it would be nice if they came along more regularly.”

Alison, the scheme manager at Arthur Bliss, recognises the importance of the project; “Having these young visitors really brings a bit of life to the place – not to mention a bit more noise!

“Many of our residents don’t have the opportunity to spend time with young children so it’s lovely to see them all interacting with each other. The children certainly seemed to enjoy themselves too – they really got stuck in and got their hands dirty.”

Along with brightening up the scheme with flowers and plants, they are hoping that the vegetable and herb crops can be used in the future to supplement their kitchen supplies.  There are plans to organise some more events with the nursery in the future so watch this space.

Find out more information about Arthur Bliss House here.