Glenrhondda Court in Treherbert is a housing association block which contains 15 flats for those aged over 55. The property is accessible and has a communal lounge, laundry and garden. The building is managed by RHA.
Glenrhondda Court Tenants Group (Bingo Buddies), a group of residents within the property, established to help to run regular coffee mornings and bingo sessions to bring the residents together and to help them to socialise.
The purpose of the community Micro Fund was to develop a small disused area at the back of the building into an accessible garden area which could act as a focal point for the Glenrhondda Court community. The current garden for the building lay at the front of the property next to a busy road, so didn’t offer a relaxing or quiet space, equally it wasn’t so appealing to sit out. By creating the garden it was also hoped that the area could encourage residents to meet and socialise and could offer additional space for meeting friends and family.
Encouraging and facilitating residents to be socially active and meet regularly is of importance to the Glenrhondda Court Tenants Group (Bingo Buddies) to reduce isolation and loneliness of residents.
The garden space would help to encourage residents to meet in a more relaxed environment and was designed to be easily accessible for those in a wheelchair and with mobility issues and has raised beds to ensure that everyone can access them, whether to help with the planting and upkeep or simply to admire the plants.
‘[We] have got communal room, but people don’t tend to come in. outside we’re hoping people would walk up rather than going into the room… Easier to walk into a garden area rather than into a room’.
The Glenrhondda Court Tenants groups (Bingo Buddies) applied to Pen y Cymoedd for support with the costs of developing the area, raised beds, initial planting, seating and fencing of the area. Money raised by the residents via coffee mornings or other events organised by the Glenrhondda Court Tenants Group (Bingo Buddies) would be used to sustain the garden in the future.
Although the community that use the garden space is relatively small it has had a large impact.
‘Had an impact on majority of residents. Therapeutic space, enjoying the space. A lot roam around on regular basis, they keep going back must be enjoying it’.
Additionally, it has had impacts beyond the building. Firstly the space offers a place for residents to meet family, something which has been of great help during the Covid-19 social distancing restrictions as meetings could take place safely outdoors to ensure that families aren’t cut off from each other, which is again reducing social isolation of the residents.
The Glenrhondda Court Tenants Group (Bingo Buddies) also describe how the garden is well used by residents and that residents of the building are keen on supporting the garden through donation of plants and seeds for use in the garden, which is helping support the maintenance costs of the garden and ensuring its future.