A gardening initiative which brings together young people and older people in Northern Ireland who have been bereaved was launched this week by the Mayor Councillor Margaret Tolerton at the Little Green Allotments in Lisburn. Over a four week period, the participants will attend workshops focusing on horticultural knowledge, self-motivation, contributing and being involved in a group environment and fun.
The workshops are part of ‘Beyond Words’, a partnership project between Cruse Bereavement Care and the Stroke Association. The project is funded by the Big Lottery Fund’s ‘Reaching Out: Connecting Older People’ programme.
Paul Finnegan, Beyond Words Project Manager said: “Being connected with nature helps people accept the inescapable cycle of life and death and these workshops have been developed to help participants plan for the future in relation to growing something. It is a pleasure to see young people and older people enjoying each other’s company, sharing stories and finding connections. The Intergenerational gardening concept is a win-win activity for everyone! The young people are learning how to grow their own food and flowers — a lifelong gift they can use to improve their quality of life at home and in the community. They also glean wisdom from and nurture a relationship with an older adult. The young gardening buddy is encouraged through the workshops to nurture the older gardener's creativity or sense of adventure by suggesting new ideas or asking to try unusual plants.”
The Mayor, Councillor Margaret Tolerton, said: “I am really pleased to support this gardening initiative which so many people will benefit from. In the short-term those people directly affected by grief will find some comfort in channelling their energy in to gardening and the new growth associated with it. However, in the long-term the skills that they will learn through the programme will continue to enhance their live. I would like to commend Cruse Bereavement Care and Stroke Association on the valuable work they do in helping people when they need it most.”
Grainne Phillips from the Little Green Allotments said; "We can tailor these programmes for any group or organisation.”
Ellen Esler who is a participant in the workshops stated; “I am really enjoying meeting people and working with older people in discovering how different plants and flowers grow. It’s been great fun too!”