Helping people blossom

Local people with disabilities are maintaining the gardens of elderly residents

Mudlarks Special Branch is an innovative approach to helping the elderly and vulnerable to stay in their homes for longer and reduce their social isolation, by providing a gardening service. The service is delivered by Mudlarks gardeners, who benefit from the opportunity to learn and work in the community, socialise, experience the health benefits of gardening, and feel pride in helping others.

Mudlarks provides training, support and employment for local people with learning disabilities to become competent gardeners. They then use their skills to maintain the gardens of vulnerable isolated older residents.
Most of their clients are living alone and many have a disability, chronic illness, Alzheimer’s, or are recovering from major surgery, such as a hip replacement. None of the people they support would be able to afford to pay for a gardener.

The team were able to help Mary* who was suffering from breast cancer and was unable to cope with her garden.
Mary said; “The prospect of a garden makes be so happy, however the state of my garden brought me to despair. With the help of Mudlarks Special Branch my garden was transformed from a jungle of weed to a haven. They also taught me so much about gardening. It’s my new hobby as I can no longer work due to the cancer. It keeps me going.”

Hertfordshire Community Foundation are delighted to have recently supported this valuable service with a grant of £15,000. By providing jobs for people who find it hard to access employment, they are also making elderly residents feel positive about their local areas. An innovative way for one part of the local community to help another.

*not her real name

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