Generations come together at Bath play garden

Children and residents have come together at the UK’s first care home play garden at Hallmark Midford Manor in Bath.

The result of a partnership between Hallmark Care Homes Foundation and charity London Play, the recently opened garden was inspired by residents’ memories of their own childhood experiences and designed by children in a school competition.

The garden features a little’s ones play area, a storytelling chair and seating area that will be used for outdoor lessons, and an adjoining gate so the neighbouring school St Martins Garden have easy access to the space.

St Martin’s Garden and Hopscotch Nursery are making use of the area to play games and read to residents, with more intergenerational activities planned for the summer.

Midford Manor Care Home resident Mary Jarman said: “I enjoyed seeing the children, all their energy and what fun they have. It makes you wish you were like them. They are good company and so happy, they are very good to talk to. It takes me back to when my three children were little and full of mischief.”

Wellbeing manager at Midford Manor, Kerry Huggins said: “It has been really lovely to see the bonds formed between our residents and the children. Not only do they come here and play, but we’ve had a Teddy Bears picnic in Victoria Park together and played games. They enjoy playing in the play garden at Midford Manor and bring such energy with them. They love to sit in the big chair and tell stories to residents and to each other which is great for developing their imagination.”

London Play CEO Fiona Sutherland said: “London Play is delighted to see that the first play garden in a UK residential care facility is already working its magic and bringing younger and older generations together around a shared language of play. We look forward to seeing the garden develop and bloom alongside new and stronger intergenerational relationships, as the plants become more established and the stories from older resident’s old take root in young imaginations. Congratulations to all at Hallmark for having the vision to make this a reality.”

Deputy head at St Martins Garden Primary School Joe Lund added: “Our children have thoroughly enjoyed reading at Midford Manor; the links being created are most heartwarming. Long may this continue!”

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