Homeless to help tackle flooding and climate change with inspiring RHS Flower Show Tatton Park garden
Date published: 19 July 2021
Petrus service users, volunteers and staff preparing their garden ahead of the 2021 show
Rochdale-based homelessness charity Petrus Community will exhibit a double back-to-back garden at this week’s Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Flower Show Tatton Park 2021.
Amid climate change concerns and increased local flooding in Rochdale, Petrus service users, volunteers and staff designed their garden ‘Full Circle’ to reflect the need to go back to nature to find solutions.
Full Circle explores ‘rain garden’ and features that can be achieved in almost any garden to reduce water runoff and the Petrus team will share what the community and gardeners can do to help the situation and become more flood resilient.
Many of Petrus’ service users and volunteers have multiple and complex needs or have experienced homelessness and engage with the charity’s community allotment Petrus Incredible Edible Rochdale (PIER), which supports individuals out of negative routines through improved social, mental and physical wellbeing.
With their garden, they hope to break negative stereotypes associated with homelessness, mental health and learning disabilities by showcasing how people with support needs have the same want to contribute to, feel a part of and make positive changes in their community around key issues that affect us all.
Following the charity’s success at the RHS Flower Show Tatton Park in 2019, their team are excited to be returning to the prestigious event.
Les, Petrus service user and PIER volunteer, said: “Petrus and PIER have been a big part of my life for a long time, this is not just a one off, it’s something that makes me happy, and we were over the moon when we got the Silver Medal and People’s Choice Award at Tatton last time. It was wonderful! We were just so proud of each other. We always get through the good, bad, and fun times together and have a laugh and a joke.
“It was really Covid-19 that tried to put a stop to our celebrations and prep of getting to Tatton, like growing some of the plants we wanted, but we still got through it as a team to be bringing our garden there.
“At first, as someone with learning disabilities, I didn’t quite understand but with Petrus and the volunteers I work with at PIER, we overcame that difficulty together. There are some of us who have different support needs but it’s so good we have each other and that we can do something so great together.
“PIER is a place where I can go to relax in light of the ongoing pandemic, it’s been really good for my mental health.
“We’ve all enjoyed being a part of Tatton. It takes a lot to put together a garden, it’s like with the football when it comes to gardening you have good and bad times, but you just need a good team behind you and we’re all hoping for the best.”
Rachael Bennion, Petrus Service Manager leading the Petrus team at Tatton, added: “Taking part in Tatton means so much to our service users and volunteers, it has given them the opportunity to show and have self-belief in their skills and learn just what they’re capable of achieving.
“Historically Rochdale’s industry relied on water, with technology utilising it in the mills – it was the power of water and technology which supported industries’ growth in Manchester.
“Through our garden ‘Full Circle’ we wanted to explore how we can once again work with, not against, water to tackle regular flooding which has at times caused devastation in our borough and share these solutions with our community.
“We’re hoping that people will come and visit our garden and not only come away with new knowledge to support their environment but feel inspired by the work that Petrus does for homelessness, and to see what people can be capable of if the correct support is in place.”
Sponsors donated funds for the charity’s garden including planting and are supporting with transporting service users and volunteers to Tatton.
Andy Carberry, Director of Care and Support at Regenda Homes, said: “Regenda Homes, part of The Regenda Group, are so proud to be sponsoring Petrus’ return to the RHS Flower Show Tatton Park as it’s a great opportunity for their team of service users, volunteers and staff to showcase the fantastic work they do at the charity and their allotment PIER all while contributing to their community by spreading awareness of flooding and leading to long-lasting personal achievements. We’re sure it will be another great success!”
Gill Kelly, Managing Director of M&Y, added: “At M&Y, we’re passionate about investing in our communities, people and our planet. Petrus’ project at Tatton aligns perfectly with this, as not only does it present opportunities for positive outcomes for the people they support and Rochdale borough but enables them to use their garden to discuss the impact of flooding and share solutions.
“Petrus is such a selfless organisation, there for vulnerable people in the community, and M&Y will continue to provide our support wherever we can. Best of luck to their team!”
Neil Williams, President of The Rotary Club of Rochdale, said: “Petrus taking part in Tatton was very much something a few years ago that we wouldn’t have thought of for our community and we didn’t know how it would go but it was of course fantastic!
“You wouldn’t understand how proud we all were last time, you could see the pride in each service user and we're hoping they experience that again.”
If you’d like to support Petrus at Tatton, you can donate online at https://virginmoneygiving.com/fund/fullcircle
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