Walk around Ossett marketplace in West Yorkshire and you’ll see big planters bursting with blooms. Despite the blistering summer weather – even in Yorkshire – the plants are looking in tip-top condition, cared for by local volunteers and businesses, including people from Livability York House.
Peter, who lives at York House, a residential home for disabled adults, heard about the Ossett in Bloom group when he attended a gardening club at the local community centre. Julia Roebuck, who runs this club, was looking for people to help with planting up the town’s containers and Peter and others from York House wanted to help. They are five minutes’ walk from the market square and are on the watering rota for the planters, along with local shops and schools.
‘The flowers boost everybody and give us an extra sense of pride in the town,’ says local delicatessen owner Debora Squires, who is part of the Ossett in Bloom team. ‘I cried when I heard we’d won Best Newcomer in last year’s Yorkshire in Bloom!’
Being active in the local community and building friendships and connections is very important to people who live and work at York House. Livability does whatever it takes for the people they support to get involved: this could be enabling the person to get around, accompanying them initially till they feel confident to attend on their own, or assisting them as they learn and complete tasks.
‘When new residents arrive here, we can often see that they have so much potential and desire to connect with others and take part in community life. We find they may not have been given the chance before,’ says York House manager Helen Holt. ‘We support them to increase their confidence, and sometimes their mobility, and they become part of the wider community through York House friends and connections in the town. Our goal is to let them get on with it and lead their own lives as independently as possible, and we see people achieve things they never dreamed they could do.’
What do inclusive groups like Ossett in Bloom do for the town’s community spirit? ‘It’s a feeling of “we all get stuck in”,’ says Debora Squires. ‘We’re all the same and we all take part. Peter is so well-known and well-liked in the town.’
Now that the Ossett in Bloom team have tasted success with last year’s award, Peter and the rest of the community gardeners are going for gold in the summer 2018 event. Winners will be announced on the 11th September, so watch this space …
Read more about Livability York House Ossett