The rejuvenation of the garden at Hendra Lodge, Liskeard, came after it was handed a cash boost from the Cornwall County Council Community Chest grant to help buy resources for the garden.
The idea for the orchard called ‘Hendra Heaven’ came about following a conversation with residents last year at its Kitchen Open Day.
The suggestion was to plant fruit, trees and flowers to care for the bees.
Our Support Worker Rebecca Clark said: “The day went really well and despite heavy rain we worked together to get 13 trees planted.
“Debs and her volunteer from the Horticultural Therapy Trust have been helping us develop the gardens in our Liskeard and Bodmin Foyers for two years now.
“Debs is also a qualified counsellor who works the vulnerable young people, the homeless and people with disabilities.
“The benefit to planting is growing healthy foods for people and wildlife, and improving the natural environment, fitting into Cornwall Council’s Climate Change Action Plan, while supporting improved holistic wellbeing, social skills and transferable skills of young people who are vulnerable.
“A big thanks must go to Cornwall councilors Nick Craker and Jane Pascoe and Edwina Hannaford, who is the Cabinet Member for Climate Change.
“We are already seeing the benefits to our residents in terms of mental and physical wellbeing.
“One individual was suffering severe anxiety and depression where he found it difficult to leave his flat.
“Being outside for a short time boosted his self-confidence and social skills.
“HTT has given us the opportunity to learn about the environment and how to build a sustainable future.
“It has also given the residents a great sense of worth where most of them had to deal with a difficult start in life.”
The HTT is a small charity that works with people of all ages who experience disability, disadvantage or exclusion, by connecting with nature in its ‘Gardening for Growth initiative’.
Part time employee and founder Deb Hoskin and volunteer assistant Shareen designed the orchard and helped plant trees using a particular method to protect them from future climate change.
The plan is to rewild the area by allowing the wildflowers to grow as well as planting additional fruit bushes, wild strawberries and flowers to turn the garden into a wild meadow which will support bees and wildlife.
The HTT donated the seeds to Hendra Lodge and has offered gardening opportunities to the young residents in the future.
Josephine Spring, from the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), also lent her backing to the project by planting some trees alongside volunteers.
Hendra Lodge was celebrating last year after receiving a top award from the RHS.
The foyer, which caters for young homeless people aged 16-25 with support needs, received a Level 4 for its entry into the RHS ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood campaign – part of the wider South West in Bloom competition.
Hendra Lodge provides safe and supported accommodation, helping its residents with budgeting, independent living and finding educational and volunteering activities to help them prepare for an independent and positive future.
Last year the residents at Hendra Lodge started growing their own fruit and vegetables in the garden.
Rebecca Clark added: “This has been a great learning curve for our young residents and gives them an opportunity to understand how growing our own makes a difference to the environment by using less plastic packaging.
“They were also really impressed with the lovely taste of the fresh vegetables.”