Our Gardening Taskforce provides a much needed and much valued gardening service for the elderly or those less able. A poorly maintained outside space represents a potential hazard for those more likely to trip and fall and for some is a source of shame, it can also mark out a home as lived in by a vulnerable person, thus making its occupant more vulnerable to criminals. We know that being unable to maintain the garden is often one of the tipping points at which older people decide that they can no longer able to continue living in their homes.
The Gardening Taskforce is an empowering and inclusive way the community can come together to support each other. Affordable Garden maintenance means older people and those less able can continue living independently in their own much loved homes. Which lets face it, is what we would all like.
Led by our Taskforce Co-Ordinator and supported by 3 volunteers, the team support the safe volunteering of up to 16 Taskforce volunteers, some of whom have learning disabilities or mental health issues and together they make a difference to the community where they live too. In 2019 they carried out 442 garden maintenance visits, developing practical skills, making friendships and reducing the feelings of loneliness and isolation often experienced by both the volunteer and the garden owner. The Taskforce offers a simple, caring and supportive solution. Volunteers gain confidence and self-esteem, gardens are well maintained and continue to be a source of pride to older owners. But this innovative project is not just about gardening; the volunteers and the home owners enjoy the social interaction which comes from team work and helping others. Sometimes the Taskforce team are the only people owners get to see, so visits are much looked forward too and for everyone involved the project goes a long way to combating loneliness and isolation.
Changes to current funding arrangements with the local authority means that small grants previously used to support Taskforce ends in June 2020. Your support will make the difference between continuing the work of Taskforce or standing the project down. Please help. Your donation, big or small, WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE, supporting the cost of running the Taskforce van as it carries the volunteers and the equipment across Folkestone tending gardens. Your donation will also go towards funding one key part time staff member, our Taskforce Co-ordinator Andy Millwood, who whose energy, dedication and commitment to the volunteers and garden owners is what brings the project all together.