Our Connector met with Judy following a conversation with Care & Support managers at extra care whom had told her of Judy’s love of gardening and also of how she wanted to spend time teaching children in the nearby nursery. They felt Judy would benefit from a Community Circle. Our Connector arranged a mutual time to visit Judy. They talked of her love of gardening and her passion for helping others.
Judy wanted to see the gardens come to life at the setting and for anyone and everyone there to be able to take advantage of them, they had to be fully accessible to all. Connector made contact with the local nursery school to explore if the children would like to join the adults to start the gardening group together, there would be planning, planting and an art element too. The nursery excitedly accepted and so the planning process began,
But tragedy was to strike when Judy suddenly passed away before the first session. However, others whom had shown an interest in the project, spurred by Judy’s initial enthusiasm decided they wanted this project to live on, a legacy that Judy started and they would continue.
This legacy indeed lives on, we have started to hold person led consultations which focus on those whose purpose is to reconnect to growing, cooking or eating or indeed all three. Our first consultation looked at Judy’s legacy and how we can remember her energy, passion and drive to start an artistic gardening project and combine this with the strengthening of our connections to our community. Through open conversation we saw the wealth of talent we have within our setting. There are those whom can share recipes, the ones they remember from childhood, when vegetables came from the local allotment where their family members held a plot of land, and not from a plastic bag in the local supermarket. There were others with knowledge of what to grow and where to source early seedlings and plants to start us growing. Others are gifted with crafty creativity and with support can have meaningful input to the art element of our project. There are those who loved to cook and eat with loved ones whom now may not have the opportunity but whom would love to be able to fill bellies and hearts with the warmth of a home cooked meal.
It is really important to think about what people want to incorporate into their Circle. Focussing on what matters and also the skills and talents of the person involved will allow for a well-rounded and inclusive group. Judy’s Circle continued to focus on the identified elements from our initial conversations and these ideas live on, prominent in the hearts and minds of those involved. Those first seedlings that Judy planted in our brains, to garden, to incorporate children and to bring colour through art are the mainstay of our project Circle and will keep us focussed for the future.
Sharon explains more about Judy’s story in the short film below: