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Community, Grants, Older People

Meeting our Grantees: Sydenham Garden

13 December 2021

Based in South East London, one of our recent grantees was Sydenham Garden, a community project working across Lewisham and Bromley. One of the charity’s key projects is their ‘Sow and Grow’ programme, which aims to support people living with early stage dementia.

Sydenham Garden use gardening, cooking, art and Cognitive Stimulation Therapy, as well as opportunities for reminiscence, reflection and discussion. Through these activities, participants are able to experience a holistic program of therapy that helps co-workers to improve their cognitive skills, become more socially included and have a better quality of life. The project is run in partnership with Bromley, Lewisham & Greenwich (BLG) Mind for delivery as part of Lewisham Dementia Support Hub. This gives the co-workers (service users) access to a wide range of support, and means joined up and multi-disciplinary team working.

The many positive outcomes of the project include improvements in physical health, mental health, social interaction, quality of life and independence levels of co-workers. Benefits extend to developments in beneficiary life outside of Sydenham garden such as participation in new groups and activities, and increase participation in home-life. As the below case study shows, the ‘Sow and Grow’ project really is making a difference:

“During 6 months of participation in the Sydenham Garden Sow & Grow group for one co-worker, the accompanying younger family member witnessed seeing her mum happy in the group, helping those who were more physically frail then herself and making friends. She was amazed and even more delighted when Sydenham Garden was able to facilitate for her mum and dad to next attend the Growing Together group (for people living with dementia and their family carers) together, where her dad could see her mum in this positive light and he could have some time focused on him and his life stories.” 

With £5000 of funding from our Foundation, Sydenham Garden will be able to fully support the costs of 8 participants in the Sow and Grow programme over the next year, and our aim – once Covid makes this possible – is to further engage with the teams at McCarthy Stone to provide additional volunteer support.

Our Trustees felt that this local community led project, that serves hundreds of local people living with dementia and has almost 100 active volunteers to support that, was well aligned with our charitable purposes, and was having a positive impact on local older people living with dementia. Through interaction with volunteers and other family members, there was a strong intergenerational element, while ensuring the continued access to a safe community space.