Robert provides a lockdown lifeline for others

Tue 08 Sep 2020

Gwyn Court garden

The coronavirus lockdown was tough for most people, but despite the worry and stress this caused, one small corner of Port Talbot burst into life.

When Robert Elliot, a resident at our Gwyn Court Haven scheme in the town, looked out from his flat at the complex he saw a blank canvas, with plenty of opportunities to bring a bit of colour and life to the communal garden.

Robert, a keen gardener, set about transforming the area whilst also encouraging other residents to get involved and lend him a hand.

“I’ve always loved gardening and growing things.  When I first moved to Gwyn Court I couldn’t believe the size of the garden and that I was given the opportunity to use it to grow things and bring a bit of colour to it.

“Gardening has been a lifeline during the lockdown.  We obviously had to stay at home as much as possible so I found being able get out into the garden very therapeutic and relaxing.  It gave me something else to focus on.

“The best part however was seeing some of my fellow residents getting involved too – some of whom had never grown anything before.  They’re now so excited to see their hard work paying off.  It really has brought people together during this tough time.”

Other tenants, encouraged by Robert’s efforts, tried their hand with not only growing flowers but also planting vegetables such as beans, carrots, radish, peppers and corn.  There is no doubt that getting involved in activities at the schemes made a massive impact on the mental health and wellbeing of tenants and has had a positive impact on their lives.

Robert and his fellow residents have transformed the garden into a nice place for them to safely meet, chat and feel a part of a community within their own homes. It also gave them the self-confidence to try something new and obtain new skills and interests.

Kirk Davies, Tai Tarian’s Independent Living Officer said:
“The effort that Robert has put into the communal garden is phenomenal – not only in the work he has done himself, but also in encouraging other residents to get involved too.

“It has really brought people together during the past few months.  With most of our residents living by themselves there was a real risk of loneliness setting in during the lockdown.  But by being outside and with plenty of room to social distance, the garden allowed people to get out, safely socialise and keep in contact with each other.”

Other Tai Tarian Haven complexes have also seen their gardens become popular during lockdown. 

Michaelstone Court in Cwmafan has enjoyed a facelift thanks to the efforts of residents, whilst the keen gardeners at Ty Maes Marchog in Banwen have brought plenty of colour and life to their garden again this year.  The Men’s Shed organisation have also been hard at work in the garden of Llwynon in Crynant.