A garden created to meet the needs of people with mobility problems and dementia has opened to the public – after securing £10,000 in funding.

The Scotswood Garden received the £10,000 grant from the housing provider Your Homes Newcastle (YHN).

The money – from YHN’s new Community Investment Funding pot – will help more people with dementia or limited mobility enjoy being outdoors in a safe and peaceful environment.

The Scotswood Garden opened in February, with a celebration event attended by some of the residents of Your Homes Newcastle’s sheltered housing schemes.

The residents enjoyed a first glimpse of the garden, which boasts a covered seating area, raised beds, a levelled walkway and composting toilet, all arranged in a way that makes it easier for older people to benefit from.

Doris Mack, who lives in Wansbeck House in Lemington, said, “I had a wonderful time and everyone was lovely and very welcoming.”

“It’s really important to have this kind of thing because it got me out of the house. I would have stayed in and sat by myself if I hadn’t gone. It’s a treat for us elderly people.”

Robert Hunter, a resident of Bamburgh House in Westerhope, said, “I like the way the garden is set out with the new covered-in area and raised beds for us slightly older people.”

“I used to be quite isolated and by visiting the garden I have met new people and volunteers.”

YHN’s Community Investment Fund aims to strengthen local communities and community partnerships and to decrease levels of social isolation, especially in areas where YHN has properties.

Charities and community groups from across Newcastle can bid for a share of an annual £100,000 funding pot. In 2018, 13 projects received a slice of the cash, including a garden makeover scheme in Elswick, a women’s football and fitness initiative, and a Men’s Pie Club, run with the aim of reducing social isolation.

The director of customer services at Your Homes Newcastle, Matthew Foreman, said, “This is the first year of our community investment fund, which aims to strengthen the great work of projects that are already working in communities where we have homes, giving them an opportunity to reach a wider audience and engage more people.”

“It is fantastic to see the projects YHN has funded getting underway and the benefits they bring. I was delighted to attend the garden opening and it’s clear how much our residents enjoyed the opportunity to socialise and exercise in a fantastic space which is adapted to their needs.”

The CEO of the Scotswood Garden, Karen Dobson, said, “Thanks to the hard work of our volunteers and the funding from YHN and other partner organisations, we now have a fabulous, accessible garden that gives people with mobility issues or dementia the chance to enjoy the health benefits of being outdoors in a safe and welcoming space.”

“It was fantastic to see so many YHN customers enjoying our opening event and we look forward to welcoming them again as the weather warms up and the garden comes fully into bloom.”

To learn more about the Scotswood Garden, please go to https://sncg.org.uk/.

For information on how to make applications to YHN’s Community Investment Fund, please visit https://www.yhn.org.uk/extra-support/get-involved-2/community-investment-fund/.  

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