Partnership case study: ‘Longsight Lodge vegetable plot’ by Bolton at Home

Our Longsight Lodge project is a community food growing plot in our sheltered accommodation scheme for older people. It gives residents the opportunity to grow and purchase home grown organic vegetables and fruit.

Our challenge

After some discussion with our activities coordinator, residents decided they wanted to develop a new activity that would take place outside, involve all residents, give them some type of physical exercise and would be social.

They also told us specifically that they wanted to develop a vegetable plot. 

Our solution

Two raised beds and 3 small herb beds were built and 6 fruit trees planted to provide on-site food growing opportunities for the residents of Longsight Lodge. A gardener visits once a week to show residents how and what to plant.

Intergenerational activity takes place with the Young Estate Rangers project. Young people and workers attend once a week to help residents clear the gardens cut back overgrown shrubbery and planting. They are building a large shed to be used as storage for tools and equipment; a potting shed and as a shelter for the young people.

Residents received a 30 hedge pack from the National Trust and are developing an interesting walkway using this hedge to attract local wildlife, birds and insects. They are applying for free wild flower seeds from Lemos & Crane.

Our impact

We will measure:

  • baseline data – how residents felt about the outdoor space before the garden works
  • how they feel afterwards
  • number of residents accessing garden area before and after the project
  • number of residents involved in the gardening / planting throughout the project
  • feedback from residents

So far:

  • more residents are using the outside space. Residents that never attended any traditional activities (coffee mornings and luncheon clubs) are helping out and being involved with the garden.
  • residents who have taken part in the gardening say they feel fitter.
  • residents using the community room are opening the curtains and blinds to look at the view of the garden and let more light in. (previously, they kept the blinds and curtains half shut)
  • residents are enjoying getting to know the young people (estate rangers). They also had a small joint Christmas celebration.

Our partners

Our partners on the project are:

  • Young Estate Ranger project:  intergenerational work with young people who come and help residents with the planting, digging and cutting back of shrubs
  • Bolton at Home UCaN centres – funding for the raised beds and provision of gardener
  • National Trust - free shrubs and hedge
  • Lemos & Crane – free wildflower seeds
  • Longsight Lodge community group and young estate rangers joint funding the building of the potting/storage shed.

Our role

Bolton at Home’s Activities Co-ordinator helped residents to determine what activities they would like to develop. She then liaised with the local UCaN centre to develop the garden and helped obtain shrubs, hedges and seeds from various organisations.

Bolton at Home’s Community Development Officer, a jointly funded post with Health acquired funding to develop the plot, developed and co-ordinated the project, liaised with estate rangers and gardeners to assist

The accommodation used for the project is a Bolton at Home community garden and community lounge with sheltered accommodation tenants attending the sessions and doing the gardening. The residents’ coffee morning group have part funded the new shed.

Our contribution to improving health

Many of the residents involved have long term conditions and the project helps to enhance their quality of life either through direct participation or indirectly through simple enjoyment of the garden created and the food produced. This meets domain 2 of the NHS outcome framework.

In terms of Public Health Outcomes the project helps to:

  • encourage people to eat their recommended 5 a day through the growing of fruit and vegetables
  • increase physical activity amongst older people through participation in the gardening activities
  • improve health related quality of life for older people by reducing social isolation amongst residents
  • encourage intergenerational community cohesion between sheltered residents and young people living locally who are involved in the Young Ranger Estate project.