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Working together to create a special garden

Hi. I’m Abby and I’m the area manager for Oxfordshire.

The garden at one of the services I manage in the Bicester area, was desperately in need of some love. The housing provider keeps the garden tidy, but they don’t make it ‘special’. The three gentlemen who live at the property enjoy spending time in the garden and they also enjoy viewing the garden from inside their home. The garden attracts many birds and other wildlife, and this is something the team and people living there, wanted to encourage.

Beautiful memorial

The team in the finished gardenEarlier this year, very sadly, a valued member of the support team passed away. A memorial bench had been purchased in her memory, and it only seemed right that the garden had a makeover to display this beautiful memorial.

I asked my peers – other Brandon managers – if they would be willing to give up some of their valuable time to come and support the team in Bicester to revamp the garden. The garden was tired and needed some TLC.

Working together

Abby, Vicky, Kim, and NatalieTo the rescue came Brandon managers, Natalie Blake, Kim Whelan, and Vicky Charalambous. They travelled to Oxfordshire to give their support, working alongside the gentlemen and their team.

The day was spent painting all the fences surrounding the garden, painting the summer house, weeding, digging, planting new plants, potting up lots of bulbs in new pots, sanding and revarnishing the table and chairs, putting up lights and sensory equipment, and even painting the hedgehog house.

Introducing colours and accessories

Vicky putting up lightsThe men had been supported by their team to choose plants and sensory equipment appropriate for the garden, and this included favourite colours being chosen for flowers. The men chose brightly coloured flowerpots that hung over the fences, lights to surround the summer house, some fantastic fountain-like sensory lights that have been placed along one side of the garden, windmills that blow in the wind hang from the summer house, and many other colourful accessories have been added to pots and planters.

One gentleman chose to come into the garden and help with planting some bulbs, whilst the others were happy to watch from the comfort of their living room.

“Anything is achievable”

When the makeover was complete, one of the volunteers, Vicky, summed up her experience:

Vicky and Natalie paint the fences“My day was a day well spent. It was so lovely to go to Oxford and meet the people supported and their team, and to hear their stories and achievements. Seeing the transformation of the garden in just one day, shows that anything is achievable. The team worked tirelessly all day and to see the pleasure on the tenants faces when they came out to see their new space was priceless.

“Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean”.

Lit up like Blackpool illuminations

I wanted to say a huge thank you to Natalie, Kim, and Vicky, for giving up their time. It was a great (but physically tough) day, and the finished article was outstanding. The best part of the day was getting a photograph that evening, of the garden lit up like Blackpool illuminations!

Abby Rees 
Area Manager

Join our team

If you have team spirit and enjoy getting involved in transforming spaces to help improve lives, we have various job vacancies in lots of different areas. Head to our jobs section to find out more about working with us and to browse our current job opportunities.