The trust’s Potted History project, funded by NHS Sutton and Merton Clinical Commissioning Groups, is a gardening and reminiscence project for older people who have become isolated. The project makes use of memory and nature-based activities to improve self-confidence and wellbeing. During the eight-week project, service users collected and pressed flowers to make bookmarks, planted flower beds and grown vegetables.
Margaret Harrison is in her 80s and has dementia, she said: “I’ve always liked gardening. When I was a child, my parents had a huge garden with vegetables and flowers and I used to help them. It makes me feel happy seeing a garden grow.”
Triangle Day Care Wallington, established in 1999, is a subsidiary of national charity Friends of the Elderly. The centre provides a place where older people can socialise and try new activities.
Val Morris is 88 and living with Parkinson’s. Val regularly uses the service and said: “I’ve really loved the Potted History project. I thought that because I’m not very mobile, I might not be able to get involved, but the staff have brought the plants to me. Doing this project has made me realise I haven’t been in my own garden for nearly two years!”
Val added, “I love coming to this centre. It’s a cheerful place to be.”
The project has been so successful that the day care centre has decided to continue gardening with the service users after the project finishes.
Wendy Carpenter, Manager at Triangle Day Care Wallington, said: “It’s lovely to see the service users reconnect with nature and share their memories of being outdoors — it’s clear how much joy the project has brought to them. The London Wildlife Trust has provided us with some fantastic tips and resources for the future.”