The seeds of a new communal garden have been sown at Pathways in Yeovil after a generous cash grant gave the green light to transform an overgrown outdoor area into a flourishing horticultural haven.
Pathways’ Day Intensive Housing Officer Kyla Cunningham, who is leading the project with Housing Officer Jason Amber, secured a £1,500 grant from national DIY and garden chain B&Q, after successfully applying for funding via Neighbourly – an award-winning giving platform that empowers businesses to make a positive impact in local communities.
The generous donation received a further boost when BCHA, the south west-based charitable housing association, injected a further £250, helping the Pathways team to turn their garden makeover ambitions into reality. BCHA has delivered support at Pathways, a 30-bed accommodation centre in Newton Road for people who have been sleeping rough and temporarily homeless, since April 2020, under a contract from South Somerset District Council (SSDC).
A complete revamp of the centre’s outdoor area will create a welcoming space for residents to relax and socialise. The garden will be especially valuable for customers who do not feel safe congregating outside of Pathways. The new area will be designed to provide a haven of tranquillity where residents can enjoy nature in safety.
Kyla Cunningham said: “We aim to get residents involved in the upkeep of the garden as an ongoing project, so they can take pride in where they live. Having a safe, communal space helps residents to develop positive relationships and improve their well-being. The garden will be a safe space where we can talk and foster relationships between colleagues and customers. We will be able to hold house meetings and events in the garden, while this wonderful new outdoor facility will help residents with their mental health and physical wellbeing.”
The garden makeover is already under way, with work beginning to transform the area into a plant-packed paradise. Thanks to the power of social media, the local community has allied to support the fledgling project, with lilies, sunflowers, Californian poppies and packets of seeds already donated by generous locals so the green-fingered Pathways team can rejuvenate the plot.
In a bid to garden sustainably with wildlife in mind, the area will be planted-up to attract birds, bees and beneficial insects. Lavender, roses, lilies and wildflowers will create a riot of pollinator-friendly colour and a feast of fragrance, while a memorial tree will be planted in memory of residents who have passed away.
Kyla added: “The site is currently full of overgrown shrubs. Broken paving slabs will be replaced and we are going to pave over a muddy area to create a space for residents to play outdoor games, including basketball and table tennis. We are revamping an existing seating area and buying a picnic bench so residents can socialise. Wooden sleepers that are already in the space will be repurposed to create a flower bed and area for container plants.”
The successful funding bid marks a further success for the team at Pathways, which previously secured £2,000 from the Food Resilience Grant Fund. The cash injection funded equipment for the centre’s main kitchen, enabling the team to provide cooking lessons for residents, equipping customers with the skills to cook and eat healthily on a budget.
For media enquiries, contact BCHA Communications Manager Victoria Kate via email at Victoriakate@bcha.org.uk