Community begins its entry to blooming marvellous competition

Donna Quarmby and service user in the gardens at Buckshaw_Page_4.jpgLuxury assisted living facility, The Grange, near Chorley, has begun its entry into a ‘gardens in bloom’ competition, which spans across the north of England.

The Grange, which is based within the award-winning Buckshaw Retirement Village, is looking to replicate its success of last year. The talented gardeners won a special recognition award for their creative garden makeover.

Hica Group, a not-for-profit charitable organisation, manages Buckshaw Retirement Village and runs a gardens in bloom competition annually , inviting all its 19 care homes and two retirement villages across the North. Participating homes are given a £250 donation from the care operator’s Shine Fund, and are encouraged to fundraise to collect more money to spend on their garden project.

The competition is used to support residents – including older people, those suffering from dementia and those with learning difficulties - by involving them in active projects, encouraging them to voice their opinion, make decisions, be creative, and enjoy the outdoors.

Donna Quarmby, scheme manager, said: “We had a lot of fun taking part in last year’s competition. Residents at The Grange enjoy staying active and they really enjoyed taking on the challenge of transforming the gardens, which not only looked fantastic but also provided a safe and accessible environment for older residents or those with physical limitations.

“We were delighted to have gained a special mention in the The Hica in Bloom competition last year and we hope to at least replicate that success again.

“The Hica in Bloom project provides an active way of maintaining both physical health and mental wellbeing for residents, as well as helping to ease the symptoms of dementia for some residents by giving us all a positive focus.”

Last year, the creative team of staff and residents at The Grange designed an eco-friendly sensory garden, made from mainly recycled materials. The flower beds, vegetable and herb gardens were raised, making the garden more accessible for older residents. A plastic path was placed ensuring wheelchair users could easily explore the area. A recycled seating area was also brought in to provide residents and their guests an area to relax in the garden.

Winners and runners up will receive their trophies and accolades at the company’s autumn Shine Ball, which brings together hundreds of staff and residents every year to celebrate their achievements.

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