Older tenants prove you’re never too old to pick up a new hobby

TENANTS at a housing development in Edinburgh have been kept busy with a new hobby during lockdown, creating a ‘Garden of Hope’ to bring fellow tenants together while remaining socially distant.

As the lockdown restrictions brought all events at Bield’s Milton Court in Portobello abruptly to a halt, two tenants took it upon themselves to focus on creating something positive out of an uncertain time.

The Garden of Hope was created by two tenants who turned an unused part of Milton Court’s development into a flourishing green space for tenants to enjoy.

A successful application was made to Bield’s small grant fund which saw the development receive £200 for the project, with additional donations from various tenants resulting in the project getting off to a flying start.

Di Joseph, 72-year old a tenant who has been at Milton Court for two years said: “At the beginning of April, the management team were looking at ways to keep everyone motivated during lockdown as all of our normal activities were cancelled.

“As we were coming into spring, a fellow tenant and my buddy on this project, Francis, suggested we could fix up the garden at the back the development, where we had just recently got a new patio and seating area - everybody loved the idea and we got to work right away, observing all safety measures of course!”

The grant fund and donations from tenants were used to buy bedding plants, tools and a water butt for the outside so tenants did not have to come inside to fill the watering cans.

Linda Mason, development manager at Milton Court said: “Di and Francis have done an amazing job and we are so thankful for the enthusiasm and motivation they have brought to this project and to our tenants and staff at such an uncertain time.

“The Garden of Hope was the perfect idea to take the residents’ mind off the difficult situation and brings them a lot of joy – especially when they have been able to enjoy it more outside in the sun as restrictions lift.

“Many of our tenants have been shielding, so we thought it was appropriate to call the project ‘The Hope Garden’ to signify the bright and colourful future to come.”

The Garden of Hope has become an ongoing project which will continue after lockdown ends, with plans in place to create herb wall and raised bed for potatoes. Spring flowering bulbs have also been ordered to create a lovely burst of colour next spring.

Bield is committed to investing, changing and innovating its services and operations to address the needs of the next generation of older people.

To find out more about Bield and its developments, visit www.bield.co.uk  or follow on Facebook @bieldhousingandcare and Twitter @BieldScotland