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Eden Independent Living gardening service has a rosy future ahead

Dennis Milner, EIL Co-ordinator with Kath Hetherington Development Manager in St Andrews Church Yard
Dennis Milner, EIL Co-ordinator with Kath Hetherington Development Manager in St Andrews Church Yard

[T]he Penrith office of Eden Independent Living (EIL) has a fantastic view across St Andrews Churchyard with crocus and daffodils in bloom – heralding spring and the start of National Gardening week (11-18th April). It has also increased the number of calls for the EIL gardening service.

Eden Independent Living is designed to provide a range of services to help older residents stay independent in their own home. Gardening is the most recent addition to the portfolio of services on offer, introduced because of feedback and research.

Statistics on how many people actually enjoy keeping on top of their gardens vary. The Horticultural Trade Association says there are around 22 million domestic gardens in the UK, but according to Kantar data, there are only 12 million adults regularly enjoy gardening, most of whom are over 55’s. For aging residents across the UK, keeping on top of the garden as they get older, often becomes a frustration and a worry.

Kath Hetherington, Development Manager for Eden Independent Living Service said: “We know the Eden population is aging quickly, we’ve seen a 20.4% increase in over 65’s since 2001 and that rate of growth is predicted to continue faster than anywhere else in Cumbria.* For those with a garden, there’s the concern of finding a reliable pair of hands to help prepare the garden for spring. That’s why we introduced the gardening service.”

Now firmly established, with gardeners covering the whole of Eden area, the EIL gardening service has grown 16% in the last twelve months. The team are expecting further growth this year as the two gardeners get more established.

The trust in the service is also growing with 65% of customers using the service on a regular basis. The most frequent tasks are general tidying of borders and edges and general maintenance, though at this time of year, pruning back winter shrubs and preparing lawns are also regular tasks.

Kath said: “People like to be proud of their tidy garden and that doesn’t need to change when you get older, a little help can make a big difference. As demand for our gardening service is still growing, we predicted we’d need extra capacity, especially in the lead up to spring.

“The EIL gardening team is now up to full speed, using local gardeners Greg Corrie from Eden Externals in Penrith and Adam Tracey from Kirkby Stephen. Greg recently started his own business and the EIL team were keen to support him. Adam has been providing gardening tips and training courses for Eden Housing Association for residents for three years and has always had great feedback.”

The Eden Independent Living (EIL) Service was launched three and a half years ago by Eden Housing Association to provide care, support and additional services like the handy person service, decorating and gardening. Last year, EIL saw a 20% increase in the number of people using the service. With continued growth across all services, EIL is set to bloom.

Anyone interested in finding out more about the gardening service in Eden should contact the Eden Independent Living Team on 01768 890657or visit the website www.eil.org.uk

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