Banbury youngsters give garden a makeover

Banbury Foyer resident Calum Mawle and Katherine Davies from Groundwork getting to grips with the barbecue. NNL-150210-163036001
Banbury Foyer resident Calum Mawle and Katherine Davies from Groundwork getting to grips with the barbecue. NNL-150210-163036001

Green fingered young residents at a Banbury supported living scheme have celebrated their hard work at an event to mark the completion of its garden’s makeover.

A group of five youngsters from Sanctuary Supported Living’s (SSL) Banbury Foyer have been getting their hands dirty as part of a project in partnership with environmental charity Groundwork to engage them with gardening.

The group worked with Groundwork volunteers to install a tiered bed for growing salad, a herb planter made from an old pallet, a barbecue in the garden; and they also replanted the vegetable patch.

Louise Powell, SSL’s local service manager, said: “This project has been a fantastic opportunity for our residents to get involved in something a bit different and to really engage with something they can continue working on into the future.

“The group were really proud of the work and so it would have been a big confidence boost for them to be able to present it to our guests and speak of their experience.”

The garden will be maintained by the residents using the skills they learned through the project, and they also plan to use the freshly grown vegetables and herbs during the cookery classes regularly run at the scheme.

Residents from the scheme came together with the volunteers, foyer staff and representatives from Sanctuary and Groundwork at a special barbecue event to celebrate the new garden, proudly showing off their handy work to the guests.

The garden makeover, facilitated by Sanctuary’s local neighbourhood partnerships team, follows a £1.8 million revamp of the foyer earlier this year, with works including a brand new reception, communal area and training kitchen, plus eight new bedsits to provide accommodation for more residents.

Matthew Hartgrove, green space manager at Groundwork South, added: “Involving residents from the development stage through to construction has allowed them to create a garden they want to use and given them a greater sense of ownership over the space. It has also allowed some residents to develop new practical skills while others have been able to put into practice skills they have learnt at college.”