The Carers’ Centre supports anyone in Bath & North East Somerset who cares for a family member or loved one. They support over 4000 carers across Bath & North East Somerset, a number which grows every year. A carer can be anyone, of any age, who provides unpaid help to family or friends who would not be able to manage without their support. This could be caring for a relative, parent, child, partner or friend who is frail, has a physical or mental illness, disability or problem with drugs or alcohol. The Carers’ Centre opened a new permanent base, The Woodlands, in Bath in November 2013.
The new centre has since been wonderfully enhanced by a very special outdoor space – none other the BBC One Show garden from the Royal Hampton Court Flower Show. This stunning garden, with a sweeping lawn, swathes of tall grasses and deep purple tones was designed by Bath Uni Student Alexandra Noble, using her home city’s Roman Baths as inspiration. After the show, a permanent home was sought for the garden and it was decided that it should return to the city that inspired its design. Through the work of the RHS, Bath in Bloom and Councillor David Dixon, Bath Carers’ Centre were approached to re-home the garden.
Janine Woodward-Grant, Senior Development Manager at the centre recalls the moment the garden reached them: “It arrived on two very large lorries! It was taken apart at Hampton Court and shipped to the Carers’ Centre bit by bit. This meant we had to work very hard to get it installed quickly, and keep all the plants alive in pots until we could put them in their permanent home! Thankfully, we had some great support from our local community. Over thirty volunteers helped us across five volunteer days – carers, staff, trustees, local residents and local business employees.”
As the garden was being transplanted from one location to another, Carbon Gold Soil Improver was used around all of the new plants to ensure they would establish well within their new home. It was also used underneath the brand new turf. It was incredibly important in this area in particular, to help the turf take root in its new environment. As Janine tells us, “the young carers wanted to use the grass area as quickly as they could, and we knew we couldn’t let them until we were confident the grass was growing. Within two weeks, it was long enough to cut and we knew that it had established itself. We’re certain the Soil Improver played a role in this, along with the rain!”
This beautiful new outdoor space is key to the centre and its carers. As caring can be a relatively indoor role, and because carers have very limited time to themselves, maintaining their own gardens can often be a burden. Many of the carers are keen gardeners and miss spending time in a garden. Now they have the opportunity to get their hands dirty and help with its upkeep – an enjoyable task that offers many benefits for health and wellbeing. The garden is a place for the entire carer community, young and old, to spend time together. It has opened up opportunities to arrange creative activities and active events so they can take well-earned time out of their caring role.