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Green-fingered retirement community comes together to renovate gardens

Retirement residents in Paignton have formed a gardening club to transform the outdoor areas of their development. Their community spirit and inclusive ethos helped members to overcome physical barriers and enjoy a new social pastime. The weeks of effort and teamwork has continued to the benefit the local environment and even attract wildlife to the site. 

The Development Manager at Tembani Court, an independent retirement living development managed by FirstPort, was looking at ways to improve the underused space outside the building. An initial team of 10 volunteers were keen to take part and formed a group which enjoyed the social benefits of retirement living, whilst making improvements to their outdoor spaces. 

As the initial group got to work on regenerating the gardens, more residents came forward to join the collective effort. Being an independent retirement living development, the physical capability of residents can vary. However, everyone who wanted to get involved was encouraged to do so. While the more strenuous activity was carried out by the most active residents, others played their part by filling pots and carrying out other supportive tasks to contribute to the project. 

After weeks of effort, teamwork and community spirit, the new-look grounds were celebrated as the residents came together, where residents also made use of newly donated garden furniture. 

This is the second time in recent months residents have gardening project.  Earlier this year, residents took part in the Queen’s Green Canopy initiative, a sustainability campaign, encouraging community groups to plant a tree to mark the Platinum Jubilee, and was recently extended to allow communities to take part as a tribute to her late Majesty. 

The efforts of residents at Tembani Court have also benefitted the environment, with water butts installed on site to ensure rainwater is harvested for use in the gardens. Since the garden renovation began, the new installations have attracted lots of stunning wildlife, including bees, butterflies and a rare hoverfly. In addition, feeding and bedding areas have also been put in place for visiting hedgehogs. 

After a successful spring and summer for the Gardening Club, plans are already in place for the months ahead. With the new and improved gardens proving a huge hit, members are now planning to renovate other areas of the development, whilst exploring more sustainable plants, which are easier to maintain all year round. 

Lorraine Bush, Development Manager at FirstPort, said:

“We’re very proud of the community spirit at Tembani Court and that really shone through when we set up our Gardening Club. 

“When we explored the idea of renovating the gardens, we wanted it to be open to anyone that wished to take part, whether they were contributing ideas, resources or time, and the residents really took the idea and ran with it.  

“We all enjoyed spending the summer in our beautiful garden, and we’re excited to continue working together in the months ahead.” 

For more information on independent retirement living at FirstPort, click here.