Garden treat to thank Swindon family carers for caring during pandemic
To celebrate 25 years’ of garden giving for Carers Trust, the National Garden Scheme’s The Old Rectory at Farnborough, near Wantage opened its beautiful gardens for a free visit for family carers.
The visit was part of a wider initiative to help unpaid carers get a break from the pressures of providing round-the-clock care for a family member unable to look after themselves.
The carers had tea and cakes then wandered around the glorious natural surroundings and formal gardens. They thoroughly enjoyed their visit. One of the group said: “It’s great to be with other people who understand, I don’t feel so isolated. I’m grateful I can come to this lovely place and meet carers like me.”
Another said: “I really appreciate this opportunity to come here – it’s been absolute heaven - the relief to have a day to myself and be with other carers I can talk to today is immense.”
The visit to The Old Rectory by carers from Swindon is part of a special programme of visits around the country. As restrictions continue to ease, the National Garden Scheme is generously opening its gardens to groups of unpaid carers from Carers Trust network of frontline carers charities for free, covid-secure, visits by prior arrangement.
The visits follow a National Garden Scheme survey which found that 87%* of people responding to the survey said that having access to a garden or outdoor space during the lockdown had helped them relieve stress.
The days out are also being organised to help mark the National Garden Scheme’s twenty-five years of support for Carers Trust and unpaid carers. Over that time, funding from the National Garden Scheme has helped Carers Trust to support around 438,000 unpaid carers a year through its network of local partner services, including Swindon Carers.
And in the last year, donations from the National Garden Scheme have been used to provide emergency grants to an estimated 18,000 unpaid carers, helping them to buy otherwise unaffordable items like fridges, washing machines and respite breaks, helping carers cope with the impact of the lockdown.
“The National Garden Scheme was an early supporter of carers and its continuous funding for 25 years has been fundamental to unpaid carers’ lives,” says Svetlana Kirov, Director of Fundraising at Carers Trust. “We’re proud to have had them by our side for so long, and this has given our frontline partners like Swindon Carers Centre continuity to ensure the provision of essential items and respite breaks to unpaid carers in Swindon.
“We know that green space is so important for wellbeing and stress relief. Unpaid carers often work long hours, and lockdown life is normal life for many - the programme of free carer visits to National Garden Scheme gardens will be an extra, invaluable benefit to so many.”
“The importance of gardens for our health and wellbeing has long been at the heart of the National Garden Scheme’s ethos,” says George Plumptre, Chief Executive of the National Garden Scheme. “The recent lockdown restrictions highlighted the importance of green spaces and gardens for us all and we’re delighted to be able to offer respite to unpaid carers through visits to our gardens hosted by our ever-generous garden owners.”