Residents in Estover create new community garden

16 June 23

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Residents living at a PCH Sheltered Housing scheme in Estover have come together to start a community garden where they can grow an abundance of fruit and vegetables all year round.  

In the new planters and raised beds outside the community room, sprouting vegetables are already growing, and the residents have been able to plant seeds that can flourish in their specific garden environment with the help of Tess Willmot, a permaculture designer and edible landscape specialist. 

All residents living in the 33 flat scheme at Leypark Court have been invited to get involved with the project, with many contributing physically and others making a monetary donation to aid the planting.

Jenette Austin, a resident living at the scheme, is delighted with the introduction of their new planter, pots of flowers and fruit trees, and loves getting involved where she can.

Jenette said: “Before we started our new community garden I had never planted a single thing in my life, but I am really happy that as a scheme we are pulling together and planting such a variety of fruit, vegetables and even flowers.

“So many residents have contributed in different ways, and it is a real team effort. Once the goods are grown, the residents can help themselves and there is no fee if they want to take any items.

“I don’t like hearing when my fellow residents say that they can’t have anything because they haven’t helped. It really doesn’t work like that; everything is communal, and they can just help themselves.

“This is the start of a new beginning and I love that it is bringing everyone together. Without the support of our PCH Housing with Support officers we wouldn’t have got to where we are now.”

Tess Willmot was invited to support the scheme by the scheme’s Housing with Support Officer, Karen Stone, who identified there was an appetite for extra knowledge on planting and gardening, and Tess’s support has been greatly appreciated by all the residents involved.

Tess said: “I have been really impressed with what the residents have achieved. They are a lovely group and they really wanted to get this project started.

“The way that they have involved other residents who didn’t want to garden themselves has been excellent. They have invited residents to enjoy it in different ways, with some buying plants and others contributing physically.

“At Leypark Court they have quite a challenge as it is rather shady and there are a lot of deer, but the residents are keen to engage and find creative ways to plant fruit and vegetables.

“I have been able to provide light touch support when they need it, sharing what I know and helping them find solutions to some of the challenges they have, and I wish them every success as their food continues to grow.”

Karen Stone, Housing with Support Officer at PCH, said: “Tess has been invaluable in her support. It is lovely to see all the residents socialising together and growing such an incredible range of fruit and vegetables.”

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