Makeover for Hanover sheltered housing garden thanks to £10,000 lottery grant and community spirit

Residents at a Hanover (Scotland) sheltered housing complex in Inverurie are celebrating after their garden received a makeover following a £10,000 lottery grant and help from people in the local community.

Tenants at Hanover Court were originally inspired to revitalise the development’s garden after a visit in November 2016 to another Hanover (Scotland) sheltered housing complex, Burnside Court in Buckpool, where tenants had transformed their garden with the help of a lottery grant. Many meetings were then held between Hanover Court’s sheltered housing manager Cathy Paul and the Residents’ Committee as they discussed their shared vision for their own garden.

Hanover Court tenant George Taylor was in contact with Mike Barron, an Inverurie Rotarian, who he asked for advice on developing the project and applying for funding from the National Lottery’s Awards for All (Scotland) in order to make the project happen. Mike was only too happy to be involved and thanks to his help the project, which aimed to improve the quality of life for tenants by upgrading the internal activities and providing improved outside facilities at Hanover Court, received an Awards for All (Scotland) grant of £10,000.

The whole project was truly a team effort. In addition to Cathy, Mike and the tenants, also involved in planning and implementation were Hanover (Scotland) operations manager, Dougie McPhee, and two other Inverurie Rotarians, Jim McColl the BBC Beechgrove Garden TV stalwart, and Eric Massie. A team of six from the Inverurie Men’s Shed carried out work on the garden while much needed hospitality was provided throughout the project by Hanover Court tenants, Kathleen Downie, Nan Hosie and Eileen Donald.

As part of the garden renovations, Jim McColl sourced over 60 different varieties of plants, heavily discounted from Parkhill Nurseries, and carpet bowls were also added. The patio area, meanwhile, was completely resurfaced and new tables were put in place there, together with seating facing the petanque court. In addition to the project work on the garden, large glass windows were removed to create a double door for ease of access for wheelchairs.

To celebrate the success of the project, an event was held at Hanover Court on December 4. Along with tenants and staff at the complex, the event was attended by Mike Barron, Jim McColl, Eric Massie and representatives from the Inverurie Men’s Shed. The event included presentations from tenants to the three Rotarians as a thank you for their effort in making the project happen, followed by refreshments for all to enjoy.

An event to mark the official opening of the Hanover Court garden is set to take place in the New Year when the warmer weather returns. This is likely to be a sponsored walk around Kellan’s Park to raise funds for the garden and then a BBQ at Hanover Court with tenants, friends, families and members of the community invited to take part.

Mike Barron, who coordinated the project, said: “Without the team of six workers from the Inverurie Men’s Shed, under the direction of Eric and Jim, the external element of the project could not have been done. This included their labouring work and professional slabbing, creating a petanque court and a slabbed area for a BBQ, the filling of the new planters, together with the creation of new planted beds.”

Speaking on behalf of the tenants at Hanover Court, Duncan McRobb, chairman of the Residents’ Committee, said: “We would like to thank the team who made this project possible. Mike Barron for his coordination, Jim McColl for his professional oversight of the planters and beds, and especially Eric Massie, the site overseer, who spent over 120 hours working on the project. The Men’s Shed workers were of the highest order and without them the external work could not have happened. We look forward to next summer. We, the residents, express our thanks.”

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