Greenfields Project for older people boasts improved accessibility
Over the summer, Brandon's Greenfields Project in Bristol underwent a series of improvements thanks to the efforts of not one, but two volunteer groups, and the generosity of their suppliers.
Greenfields is a calm, relaxing space, based at Lawrence Weston Community Farm. It offers gardening and craft activities to older people with learning disabilities and autism, and everything they produce is sold to the public.
Over a four-month period, the two groups of volunteers from CS2 Chartered Surveyors and Santander, have each had a hand in transforming the project. The overall makeover and improvements to accessibility means the project can be even more inclusive, enabling even more people to benefit from the therapeutic effects of the activities.
CS2 Chartered Surveyors
To celebrate their 20th anniversary, in July, CS2 Chartered Surveyors arrived en-masse and turned the tranquil corner plot into a hive of activity and enthusiasm. As the sun beat down, the task of digging out the overgrown entrance path and laying fresh concrete, was hot and thirsty work! The results speak for themselves; the entrance now boasts a wide, level path, the handrails received much-needed TLC by way of sanding and a new paint job, and a large raised planter was painstakingly built from rustic sleepers, taking centre stage in the front garden.
Mathew Belgrove, CS2 Director and Bristol Office Head, said: "We're excited to be using our building surveying, quantity surveying & general practical skills to help such a great project. After our initial site visits, it is clear that it means so much to the older people involved to be able to work in the gardens and create some fantastic produce for the charity. We’re delighted to be able to help make the space better for them for the future."
In August, battling with heavy rain, a small team from Santander constructed and installed a welcoming green roof sales area at the entrance to the Farm, which they planted up with different types of Sempervivum and Sedum, as well as thyme and wild marjoram. The team also erected a new Greenfields sign, and made some smaller planters to fit into the pallet fence that surrounds the garden. These little planters now contain sedum cultivars, including as 'purpureum', 'blue spruce' and 'red carpet', giving visitors a beautiful first impression.
Duncan McKay, Santander group manager, told us: "We were delighted to be able to support the Greenfields Project and were made to feel very welcome by all the team at the site. Despite the weather, we really enjoyed our day and hope our work was helpful. A big thank you to Ben and the team."
Whilst the teams experienced rather different weather conditions on their volunteer days, the results of their efforts are spectacular! Extreme temperatures and pouring rain, were never going to stop this lot! Not only have the improvements made the project more accessible and safer for people with reduced mobility, but the makeover also means the project looks fantastic; it's crisp, clean, and enticing.
Sue Porto, Brandon Trust Chief Executive, said of the improvements: "We can't thank you enough for what you've done at our Greenfields Project. Our enterprises offer people with learning disabilities and autism opportunities to gain work skills, vocational training, and paid employment. The transformation at Greenfields means that the project is now more accessible and inclusive - something that's hugely important to us."
Volunteer groups improve accessibility at Greenfields Project
If you'd like to get involved, there are plenty of other improvements in mind for the project. The big dream is to have an accessible compost toilet installed, and other ideas include a tool shed, more raised planting beds, and a covered patio area.
If you can help in any way, please get in touch with Lynne by calling 0117 938 0331 or email Lynne.
Buy the produce
If you'd like to check out the wares on offer, all the wonderful produce can be bought directly from Greenfields, or from the Brandon charity shops in Bristol.