How vegetable garden helped scheme's residents

John Trubshaw created a fruit and vegetable garden at Anchor’s Sandino Court housing scheme in Telford.

A resident who set up a fruit and vegetable garden for his housing scheme community has spoken of the benefits it has brought.

John Trubshaw, of care operator Anchor's Sandino Court housing scheme in Telford, won Best Fruit and Vegetable Garden at Anchor's national Gardening Competition 2021.

It received more than 400 entries in 2021 and winners across five categories were given prizes.

John started the garden as a way for him to exercise and occupy his mind during the lockdowns in 2020. It has since become a popular spot with residents and provides fresh food for them to enjoy.

“Gardening is a great way to achieve a healthy lifestyle," he says. "Besides the obvious benefits of the fresh air and exercise, there is the satisfaction gained from watching your garden grow from seed to harvest. The sense of achievement, when sharing with friends and neighbours, is also great for your mental wellbeing.”

The courtyard where the garden is located has also become a regular meeting place for residents.

Claire Tinsley, manager of the scheme, says: "It’s been wonderful to see the garden grow and become such a lovely place for residents to socialise. John’s award win reflects his hard work and knowledge of gardening while also being a testament to the joy he has brought to other residents’ lives through the project.”

John is originally from Wolverhampton and has lived locally since leaving the RAF in 1975. He has used his gardening expertise in the community by volunteering at Old Park Primary School, The Windmill School and the community garden at Dawley Town Hall in Telford. He has taught young families and children how to start and maintain their own gardens while encouraging healthy eating and wellbeing by incorporating their fruit and vegetable preference into the crops.

These gardens began with familiar favourites such as carrots, sweetcorn and peas and have evolved to include a range of brassicas, leeks, garlic and chilis. All the produce is used within the communities where they are grown. Volunteering with young families and children has helped John to feel upbeat and the energy and enthusiasm of participants has in turn benefited his own wellbeing.

He says: “Starting one’s gardening journey is a great way to boost wellbeing as we head into the new year and is easier than many often think. Growing vegetables does not require a large garden or, indeed, any garden at all. The vegetable garden here at Anchor’s Sandino Court is a raised bed type constructed from pallets and scaffold boards. Many crops can be grown this way as well as in pots and tubs.”

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