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Growing for Wellbeing at Rhyddings Park Kitchen Garden

Arthur, 79, has recently moved into the Hyndburn area. He suffered from various health conditions and was feeling isolated. His daughter, Kathryn, concerned that her Dad wasn’t part of his local community and becoming increasingly inactive, convinced him to get involved in the volunteer gardening sessions at Rhyddings Park Kitchen Garden.

Initially Arthur seemed reluctant to engage, and it seemed that he was only doing so because his daughter had asked him to. However, Joanne and Chloe, the Newground project officers, found tasks which were suitable for Arthur to take part in and introduced him to other people who were just starting to get involved in the project, he started to get more involved and started to enjoy himself. Arthur was able to work at his own pace and joined the team in the cafe afterwards, to enjoy a cup of tea and a butty for his hard work.

Since joining the project Arthur’s confidence has grown. He likes to teach others new skills and he loves telling stories from his life as a dairy farmer, the other volunteers have also enjoyed working with Arthur very much. He has got fully stuck into the gardening work. Some of his accomplishments include making features to insert into the beds, an activity which Arthur has particularly enjoyed, and growing plants from seed! He has also brought things to use in the garden, including strawberry plants and some foxgloves.

Arthur’s daughter has also noticed some real positives “I would say, with confidence, that he had previously suffered from depression. The social contact, being outdoors and having ‘something to go to’ on a regular basis have made a massive difference. He is more cheerful within himself and is hugely positive about the difference he can make through helping a few hours a week. Home life is better than ever. I get a period of respite, and we have fresh topics of conversation. He feels like a part of the local community, is making new friends and thoroughly enjoys himself!”

Arthur has also expressed to the staff a genuine enjoyment of coming to the garden. He has changed from being quiet and wanting to work alone, to being very chatty and humorous, wanting to work with the Newground staff in whatever they are doing!

If you would like to get involved with volunteering at Rhyddings Park Kitchen Garden or know anyone who would, please call Joanne on 07701 312277 or Chloe on 07747 764898.

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