• Sarah Tempest

Dora's Garden

Residents of Dora Matthews House in Coleford in the Forest of Dean have been hard at work on a gardening project, facilitated by Rooftop’s Health and Well- Being Team and made possible by a £1000 grant from the Barnwood Trust applied for by Rooftop.

The main aim of the project is to make the garden a place that is accessible and can be enjoyed by all residents regardless of their age or ability. Dora Matthews House provides modern accommodation for the over 55’s in one or two bed apartments with a few bungalows for adults with learning disabilities. It suits individuals who want to live an independent life but who may need extra care and support. Many of the people who live there use wheelchairs or walking aids.

The new garden will create a better sense of community, improve residents’ mobility and help with their mental health. It’s hoped that when the project is completed, the garden will be suitable to be enjoyed by the diverse community of Dora Matthews House that exists today, and for generations of residents to come.

Rooftop’s Health and Well-Being team help to provide support and have been gathering the materials for this gardening project.

Furniture is being repainted, pots and borders planted, arbours and obelisks built. Customers have told us how much they have enjoyed being able to make their outside spaces more accessible, colourful and comfortable.

Marina lives at Dora Matthews and is a volunteer for Rooftop. She and other residents have been hard at work since Rooftop delivered some supplies, from a safe social distance of course.

“The atmosphere is so positive and alive it’s great.” Says Marina. “Terry, Ernie, Debbie, Peter and Alistair have all been working hard this morning with me. We all spent last evening in the garden until gone 8pm, the garden was full of laughter and such a brilliant buzz, it was fabulous. We have all just come in now and we will be back out later to carry on.”

Let’s hope the sunshine returns for them to continue their brilliant work. Once Covid restrictions have been lifted, Rooftop will continue to the next phase of the project with volunteers and hope to hold an open day for residents, their families, staff from Dora Matthews and Rooftop representatives.

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