Our Chelmsley Wood balcony gardens project was funded by the Community Chest Fund and aimed to revamp residential grounds whilst reducing isolation and improving physical and mental wellbeing for residents.
The project finished in Spring this year and involved us working with residents in Fillingham Court, a housing scheme for the over 55’s, which comprises of 40 apartments with balconies surrounding a communal garden area.
After consultation with the residents at Fillingham Court it became clear that they wanted to use the £3,000 funding to make their communal garden more accessible. They were also keen to improve their personal balconies due to various medical conditions and disabilities making it hard for them to enjoy the outdoors.
The funding led to a ten-month activity programme of gardening days and craft sessions which saw 32 residents get involved.
Thirteen gardening-related sessions were delivered for residents, alongside Gro-organic, to bring them together and give them the skills and confidence to grow their own fruit and vegetables.
Our Head of Customer Involvement & Engagement, Claire Hardwick, says: “This was such a fantastic project and the transformation of the grounds and the balconies is very evident.
“The gardening and art sessions really brought residents together. We’ve also made the communal garden more accessible and residents are now taking ownership to maintain the garden and their personal balconies which is fantastic.
“It’s great to see the residents take great pride in their balconies and enjoying the communal garden where they are growing, nurturing and harvesting food together. New friendships are constantly being formed which is lovely to see!”
Residents Carol Panton (67) and Phil Roberts (70) helped design their Victorian oasis balcony garden which follows the style of décor and furnishings of their ground-floor apartment.
Carol, who uses a wheelchair, loved seeing the transformation of her balcony. She played a key role in the design of her balcony which included planters and trellises with roses, fennel, lavender, ivy and various alpines.
Carol says: “It was a real focus for me and I really enjoyed playing a leading role in the planting.
“I’m very happy with all the ideas and plants chosen except I did draw the line at geraniums!”
Our Community and Engagement Team are now working on a new small grants scheme as Citizen which will be accessible to all our customers.