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Community camaraderie flourishes in David’s garden

Looking out for others and helping those is need is the mantra of a group of kind-hearted Wiganers who made it their mission to support a friend in need, offering a little TLC to his garden after finding out he was struggling to maintain it on his own.

Wigan born and bred, David Ratcliffe has been part of the gardening club at the Belong care village in Platt Bridge for the past few years, just one of the activities he participates in as part of the ‘Experience Days’ day care service he also attends. It was when the group paid a visit to the local garden centre, he confided in his friends that his own back yard was becoming a little tricky to keep on top of.

Charlene Frodsham, experience coordinator at Belong Wigan, provides more detail: “We were enjoying our day trip when David mentioned how his gardening was becoming a challenge for him. Everyone felt compelled to help and we said, ‘Do you know what? Let’s go and sort it’ – and that’s what we did!”

Thanks to the enthusiasm and hard work of the club, David’s garden has been tidied and transformed to create the perfect home for flowers, whilst attracting birds, insects, and wildlife. Together, the group took advantage of the recent unseasonably warm weather by weeding, trimming hedges and sweeping, before planting hardy plants to survive the coming months, ready for their companion to enjoy next springtime.

David said of his friends: “It meant a lot to me for my Belong friends to come round and help, as I find it difficult to manage on my own. Since then, I’ve been able to enjoy sitting outside and I can keep on top of it. I’m very grateful for their support.”

Amongst the many clubs and activities that form its experiences programme, Belong Wigan’s customers are supported to participate in meaningful occupation in line with their interests – both at the village and outside in the wider community.

Charlene added: “Working on the garden was a pleasure for everyone involved. We have a lovely mix of Experience Day customers, like David, as well as our apartment tenants, and residents, some of whom are living with dementia. Everyone loves a challenge, and this certainly brought us all closer in the name of helping our friend.”

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