Green Aiders - free gardening help for Biggleswade residents

Gardens in Biggleswade will be getting some care and attention over the coming months – without householders having to get their hands dirty or spend a single penny!

Green Aiders is a free one-off gardening service for older (65 years plus) and disabled people in Biggleswade, run by community charity Groundwork Luton & Bedfordshire.

From January to April the Green Aiders will tame 16 gardens. The work will be carried out in two-and-half-hour sessions by Groundwork staff and a volunteer team of adults with learning disabilities. Residents can be council or housing association tenants, owner-occupiers or private tenants.

The aim of the project is to improve the physical health and mental wellbeing of vulnerable and disabled residents in Biggleswade, as well as providing the volunteers with valuable gardening training and experience. The Green Aiders will, under the supervision of Groundwork staff, provide a garden rescue service for older and vulnerable householders whose gardens have fallen into a state of disrepair.

Councillor Carole Hegley, Central Bedfordshire Council’s Executive Member for Social Care and Housing, said: “This sounds like a win-win situation, as the team of volunteers will benefit from some physical and social activity in the outdoors, and residents will benefit from having their garden made over.

“The volunteers tend to come from the same area as those they are helping, so they get to chat with other people living in their community as well as seeing the physical benefits of the work which they are doing. And the skills which they learn during the Green Aiders scheme can be transferred to other areas including the workplace.

“Having a tidy garden means the residents we are helping will be able to enjoy the health benefits of being able to get outdoors without fear of tripping over in an unkempt area, for example.”

Chris, a Green Aiders volunteer in 2015, said: “Green Aiders has taught me a lot of things and helped me relearn a lot too. I always feel better at the end of a Green Aiders day because it’s active and social. It’s given me a chance to do better for myself and for other people at the same time.”

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