National recognition for our green-fingered customers

Green-fingered residents at one of our retirement living schemes have earned national recognition for their gardening skills, harvesting three certificates in a Royal Horticultural Society competition.

It’s the second year running the aptly-named Bushfield Court in Bilston have been recognised in the RHS’s Britain in Bloom nationwide gardening awards.

This year, a group of residents led by head gardener Bill Simkiss were awarded a Certificate of Recognition, Certificate for Sharing Know How and a Certificate for Inspiring Others.

The judges awarded the certificates due to the group’s resilience during the COVID-19 challenges, stating they were “incredibly moved by their stories of courage, creativity and ingenuity in helping their communities” and that they’d heard “people are valuing their work more than ever before.”

Whilst the restrictions of 2020 have paused many activities at our retirement living schemes, residents are still able to get creative in the garden which Bushfield’s lifestyle coach Marie Barley described as being “a lifeline.”

“Gardening has so many benefits,” she said. “For many of our residents, it gives them goals and something to look forward to; helps them with their wellbeing; keeps them positive; and is a great source of exercise.

“This year, we’ve seen more residents get involved in our gardening activities than ever before. Even those who can’t manage the more strenuous physical work have been sowing seeds in pots from their balconies – it’s been really lovely to see everyone come together to help out.”

This year the annual competition had to be organised differently with the judges making their decision digitally, rather than visiting gardens across the country.

“We’re delighted to have won three certificates as it’s a real testament to the gardening group’s hard work.” Marie added.

“I think the judges were really impressed with how we not only got residents involved but the wider community too. Due to Coronavirus, we haven’t been able to fundraise much this year to buy things like compost and pots but out local community has helped us out by donating the materials we needed. The staff here did a brilliant job in getting the word out and we’ve been overwhelmed with people’s generosity.”

In 2019, Bushfield Court picked up an It’s Your Neighbourhood National Certificate of Distinction in the community improvement category of Britain in Bloom.

Resident and head gardener, Bill, said: “The gardening project has been a great incentive and got everyone interested. It’s kept me alive!”

27th November 2020 | 2020