Hospital volunteer gardeners nominated for Stars of Lowestoft and Waveney Award

PUBLISHED: 14:29 08 October 2018 | UPDATED: 14:29 08 October 2018

Carlton Court volunteer gardeners Jennifer Manson, Pauline Elliott, Jenny Pye and John Elliott.

Carlton Court volunteer gardeners Jennifer Manson, Pauline Elliott, Jenny Pye and John Elliott.

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Volunteers looking after a memory and sensory garden for families living with dementia have been shortlisted for a community award.

The five volunteers from Lowestoft and Beccles have been named as finalists in the Community Group or Champion of the Year Category in the Stars of Lowestoft and Waveney Awards.

Pauline Elliot, John Elliott, Margaret Goffin, Jennifer Manson and Jenny Pye were anonymously nominated for the award after their efforts to maintain The Lifetime Garden’s various areas, including their meadow, woodland, orchard, Mediterranean and sea gardens.

The garden, at Carlton Court, Carlton Coville, is run by Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) and includes a meadow, woodland, orchard, and Mediterranean and sea gardens.

Mrs Elliott, along with Ms Pye, has been voluntering at the garden since it was created by former Trust staff Julie Kerton and Louisa Harris, along with patients and carers, more than a decade ago.

She said: “It is lovely to have been nominated and shows that people in our community really do care about people with mental ill health and their carers.

“We all find the gardening very rewarding. It gives us a lovely opportunity to work in a hospital environment and know that we are contributing just a little bit to the wellbeing of the patients there.

“The service users seem to really appreciate the garden, while relatives like to take their loved ones out of the ward environment and into the outdoor space.

“The staff also encourage those they care for to enjoy the garden and it is lovely to know you are helping to enable them to do that.”

Lisa Breame, dementia trainer with NSFT, said: “I am really pleased to learn that our volunteer gardeners and finalists for this award.

“I have know two of them for many years and to meet the rest has been a real pleasure. They are inspiring people.

“One day this summer I was walking in the garden with a gentleman who was very distressed, but he quickly calmed down as he could feel the sun, smell the flowers, pick the fruit on the trees and talk about his time as a farmer.

“It was a lovely moment that reminded me of what the garden achieves and that is all thanks to their efforts.”

The Stars of Lowestoft and Waveney Awards will welcome shortlisted nominees for an awards ceremony on Thursday October 11 at the Hotel Victoria.

Ros Parker, from Parker Communications, event organiser, said: “The awards are a wonderful way to celebrate and recognise the people of the community who do so much good, without expecting to be recognised in any way.

“There are so many people who give their time and talents for the betterment of our community and these awards are a chance for local people to say we noticed and care about your involvement and commitment.”

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