Young volunteers from Sussex Coast College have been gaining valuable work experience as part of an ongoing relationship with a Hastings care home.
Ten youngsters, who are on the 12 week Princes Trust course, spent three weeks tidying the garden at Hastings Court care home on the Ridge, preparing it for winter and maintaining the Garden of Love, created by resident, Fred Day, as a place for people to remember their loved ones.
Fred, 85, has lived at Hastings Court since March, with his wife of 63 years, Sheila, who has dementia. He started the gardening club to continue his lifelong hobby, having created and maintained his own garden at home in Hastings before the couple moved in. His Garden of Love has drawn praise from local MP, Amber Rudd, and Hastings mayor, Cllr Judy Rodgers, planted the first rose bush.
Fred says the volunteers have been an enormous help, “People here need to be able to enjoy the garden,” he said. “It lifts their spirits, so it’s really important to keep it well maintained. “The young people have helped me to dig out old plants, tidy the paths, order top soil and plant daffodil bulbs that should look beautiful in the spring. We’ve had great fun together.”
Connor Smith, 22 worked alongside Fred in the garden. He said: “We decided to help Hastings Court because we loved the feel of the place when we first visited, a real ‘home from home’, and Fred was such a character!
“The time we spent there was a fantastic experience for us and we are so glad that we had the chance to get to know Fred, the other residents and all of the hardworking staff. Thank you for believing in us.”