Sowing the seeds of good health: Vital garden for older people with dementia and brain injuries given extra life

The Branching Out - Growing Together sessions held by ActivGardens. Picture: ACTIVLIVES

The Branching Out - Growing Together sessions held by ActivGardens. Picture: ACTIVLIVES - Credit: Archant

A picturesque garden in Ipswich which is sowing the seeds of good health for older people is set to continue thanks to extra funding.

ActivLives was given two years of funding for its Branching Out – Growing Together project.

The programme is designed to give older people who are wheelchair-bound with conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s, brain injuries and strokes to get active in an outdoor community setting.

There are also opportunities for people to have a chat with neighbours, make friends and share their skills and ideas, as well as helping grow plants and produce for sale.

After funding for the project’s initial two-year lifespan from HealthIntend – which raises money to address health inequalities in Suffolk – the project will continue with funding from Suffolk Community Foundation Simpson Fund.

Everyday ActivGardens development manager Susannah Robirosa said: “Participants have said what a difference it has made for them to enjoy activities with members of the local community.

“We have celebrated the Royal Wedding, had our very own tennis sessions as part of Wimbledon with young placements from a local school, done nature walks and had talks on park wildlife, cooked our own produce, not to mention all the gardening!”

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“Several trips have been arranged enabling groups of older people to visit and relax in the garden.”

Sessions take part in the Chantry Walled Garden, in Chantry Park, every Tuesday and Thursday, with sessions also running at nearby care homes in the area.

A plant sale will be held on Thursday, August 30 from 10am to 1pm to celebrate the achievements of older people taking part in the project.

For more information about the scheme, contact Susannah Robirosa 07530 407302 or email

Those who would like to book a visit or activity session should contact: project co-ordinator Lesley Hartley on 01473 345350 or

Alternatively visit

ActivLives runs projects to encourage everyone, of any age or capability, to lead an active, healthy lifestyle, through volunteering, work experience, learning and training.

Its other projects include a market and café, a men’s shed, health walks, seated and standing exercise, lunch clubs and community events.