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Community sows the seeds for a brighter future

23 August 2021

A gardening project is providing brightness and hope for people at a Burwell homelessness service, thanks to an inspirational teenager and support from local businesses.

Hostel coordinator Sophie Dixon's nephew Daniel, who built the planters in the revamped gardenDaniel Stewart at North Street with his donation of handmade planters

Residents at Sanctuary Supported Living’s North Street, which provides supported housing for people who have experienced or face homelessness, have been busy revamping their garden, making it a more green and pleasant space for all to enjoy.

The project was launched by Hostel Coordinator, Sophie Dixon, who recognised that the garden at North Street was in need of some TLC, and also saw it as an opportunity for residents to gain new skills and confidence, as well as enjoying the benefits gardening can have on both mental and physical health and wellbeing.

Sophie’s 13-year-old nephew, Daniel Stewart, an aspiring carpenter, had been making garden planters as a hobby during the school holidays. When he heard about the gardening project, and the valuable work the service does in supporting homeless people in the local community, he kindly donated two of his hand-built planters.

Local businesses then followed Daniel’s lead, by generously donating plants, soil and other essential gardening items to support the makeover project.

North Street’s residents have been inspired by the initial makeover, and have since been busy planting flowers and vegetables, including runner beans, onions, tomatoes, and lettuces. They’re also planning to spruce up the fence with a painting party, remove an old shed and create a patio area with a table and chairs.

We’re so grateful to Daniel for his kind donation of his handiwork, which really kickstarted the project, and we’re very thankful to all the local businesses who helped too.

Sophie Dixon, Hostel Coordinator

Sophie said: “We’re so grateful to Daniel for his kind donation of his handiwork, which really kickstarted the project, and we’re very thankful to all the local businesses who helped too. The residents have some great ideas about how they’d like to continue brightening up the place and are taking ownership of it. They water the plants every day and excitedly tell me each morning how they are doing. We are really excited that this is the first step to making the hostel their home again and it makes us all proud to be here”.

Supported housing services, such as North Street, provide housing with support, so that people can build their self-confidence, resilience and the life skills needed to become independent.

For more information about Sanctuary Supported Living’s services for homeless adults, see our homelessness page, read residents’ stories or find a service near you.

Download a PDF version (166KB) of this story.

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