Gardening can help you bloom

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People over the age of 50 can put a spring into their step....by taking up gardening.

Over 50s are being encouraged to get out and share their skills, know-how and passion for gardening as part of a district-wide initiative to reduce loneliness and isolation.

Lincolnshire Community and Voluntary Service (LCVS), in association with Talk, Eat and Drink East Lindsey (T.E.D.), is encouraging elderly people to get involved with the thriving scene of community gardening projects and gardening societies in the area.

Gardening can improve health, physical strength, mobility and mental wellbeing.

Kathryn Laverack, T.E.D. Project Officer for Lincolnshire CVS (LCVS), said: “East Lindsey offers a wealth of opportunities to either get physical by getting involved in a community garden project or to get out and meet like-minded gardeners through the flourishing network of gardening clubs and societies.”

Community gardening projects across the district offer access to all different types of garden environments from ‘grow your own’ to wildlife habitat management.

Many also involve intergenerational projects, bringing together older and younger members of the community.

Projects volunteers and communities can get involved with include Spout Yard Park in Louth, the Sir Joseph Banks Tribute Garden in Horncastle, the restored gardens at Alford Manor House and the community gardens at the Meridale Centre in Sutton on Sea.

A gardening activity day takes place at Farlesthorpe Nature Reserve, near Alford, 10am to 4pm, every Monday. Everyone is welcome.

Jan Johnson (70), of Louth, says her love of gardening helped her get out and meet people after the death of her husband, Gordon.

She went on to set up, with a friend, the Louth-based gardening focused special interest group WEADS where members meet monthly to share knowledge, swap plants and visit gardens.

Jan, a mum of three and grandmother of five, said: “Getting myself out after my husband’s death was one of the hardest things I have ever done but my interest in gardening was the obvious place to start when looking for something to get involved with.

“I got in touch with the Louth and District Gardening Society and have never looked back.

“Ten years on, I have a very busy social calendar. I am still an active member of the Gardening Society and have joined many other organisations since, including the U3A (University of the third age) and Louth WEA (Workers’ Educational Association).

“Once you start with one thing, people recommend other things to you.

“I have tried all sorts of things from Aquacise to learning about Medieval Graffiti in churches! You just have to try these things to find out what you like doing best.”

The gardening initiative comes just days after a major event in Horncastle tunred the spotlight on the many activities and organisations that can provide support for over 50s.

In addition, the event - held at Stanhope Hall - showed many of the organisations would welcome the experience provided by new volunteers.

•For information about a local community garden, club or society, or if you would like to encourage others to join your group, contact Kathryn Laverack, T.E.D. Project Officer at Lincolnshire CVS, email ted@lincolnshirecvs.org.uk. phone 01205 510888.