Bernadette and Pat Morrison eat fresh cabbage every week, thanks to the ‘Garden in a Box’ initiative.
‘Garden in a Box’ was co-ordinated by Tommy Carlin at the Getting On Well project in the Gasyard Centre.
The Getting On Well project was set-up several years ago to connect with people who have become isolated within their respective communities.
“We are over the moon with our ‘Garden in a Box’. It has brought a lot of colour to our wee garden and we now have fresh cabbage with our dinner three or four times every week,” said Bernadette Morrison.
Bernadette’s husband, Pat, was equally as enthusiastic about the project as she was.
“I am the boss in the garden,” he said.
“I am only joking - I just do whatever Bernadette tells me to do and the only reason I am saying that I am the boss is because Bernadette can’t get at me from the other side of this table,” he laughed.
The wooden boxes used during the project were provided by Apex Housing and co-ordinator Tommy Carlin, said it has been well received within the TRIAX areas.
“A while ago we put a call out to see if there were any older people who would like to avail of the ‘Garden in a Box’ initiative and the response was amazing.
“Since we started the project we have created almost 40 boxes for older people living in the area.”
One of the provisos of the project was that the boxes had to include both flowers and vegetables. The reason for the inclusion of vegetables was because Tommy and his team wanted to encourage healthy and nutritious eating amongst those taking part.
“It was amazing to see the participants growing their own vegetables and then bring it along to a cooking class where they learned how to make healthy meals.
“I think everyone involved really enjoyed the project and we held a meeting there a few weeks ago and it was one of the best attended meetings I’d ever been at.
“We encouraged the people who received a garden box to try and grow their own vegetables. A lot of the hard work was carried out by facilitators, Teresa and Margaret McKeever.
“Teresa is a really experienced gardener and she did a lot of work helping Rosemount Primary School to develop their nature garden over the last few years.
“Some of the people who took part in the project have gone on to grow all kinds of vegetables and herbs.
“I do a bit of gardening at home but I am more of the kind of man who does what he’s told. I just dig the holes and let my wife look after the rest.
“However, even I could appreciate the amazing work Teresa and Margaret did. The other thing about Teresa and Margaret is that they are amazing at talking to and getting on with people - they made instant connections with all of the people on the project.”
The ‘Garden In Box’ project will start again in September and despite already having a waiting list, Tommy said the Getting On Well project is still very keen to hear from people who would be interested in taking part.
“It’s the small things which make the difference to the people of these communities and if by putting a small garden box into their homes makes a difference then we know the project has been successful.
“We want to hear from as many people as possible so all they have to do is get in contact with us.”
Rose and Danny Sheerin are one of the couples who took part in the initiative.
Rose said she enjoyed working in the garden with her husband and said she would encourage others to take part in the event when it starts again in September.
“We had an absolute ball - it was a lot of fun. I told Danny what to do and he did it - I am still taking all of the credit,” she laughed.
“But seriously, the project is absolutely amazing. Myself and Danny would always be out and about but that’s not the same for everyone in the community.
“For some people the wee project was a lifeline and we all had an absolute ball.”
For more information on the Getting On Well project, telephone Tommy Carlin and his team on 028 71 365 330.