COMMUNITY spirit has flourished in Atherton as residents lend their green fingers in support of a garden transformation at Belong care village.

The Mealhouse Lane grounds now has a greenhouse, vegetable troughs and raised planters with flowers to attract birds, insects, and wildlife.

The benefits of a new kitchen garden have already been realised with herbs being used in cooking.

Kim Calland, experience coordinator at Belong Atherton, said: “We have lovely dementia friendly gardens and our customers asked if we could have more vibrancy, more wildlife, and bring more of the outside world in.

“They were also keen to lead the project themselves and for it to have an element of sustainability, so we’re growing our own fruit and vegetables for meals, as well as flowers to add a splash of colour inside and out.”

Residents have been supported to get involved on the village’s terraces, planting hanging baskets, filling bird feeders and keeping bird baths topped up.

The dementia specialist also invited The Wildlife Trust to share their expertise with residents and tenants on how to create a wildlife hub at their home.

Light gardening has been shown to have a number of wellbeing benefits for those with dementia.

Keeping green fingers busy helps to increase strength and balance, as well as enhance sensory stimulation.

Work started earlier this year before gaining momentum when the village welcomed more volunteers to mark The Big Help Out, as part of The King’s coronation celebrations in May.

Kim continued: “Our customers have been loving it. Many of them are gardening enthusiasts and have relished being able to teach colleagues about what we need, where best to plant certain species, how to do it. It’s been a wonderful experience for all – now, we’re hoping for some autumn sunshine, but at least we can appreciate the gardens, whatever the weather.”