During lockdown, enterprising residents at retirement housing complex in Northwich started their own gardening club in a new polytunnel built by local volunteers.

Margaret Russell, a resident of Anderton Place, who launched the club, is delighted with the support she has received so far from Transition Northwich in turning the idea into reality.

The complex, which is based on Sandbach Drive in Kingsmead, is run by The Guinness Trust, who gave the go ahead light to the green fingered initiative.

Margaret explained: “The Guinness Trust gave us permission and The Anderton Place Social Committee provided the financial help we needed to purchase the materials and install this wonderful polytunnel.

"This is an ideal activity for residents to get involved with.

Northwich Guardian: Break ground for the new polytunnel at Anderton Place.

"Growing plants allows everyone to see the benefits of what they do and once the plants are outside, other residents, who find it harder to access the gardens will be able to look out and enjoy the beautiful colours.

"Likewise, staff, visitors and relatives will be able to enjoy them too. Everybody benefits.

"Many residents have had their own gardens in the past, so the opportunity to continue gardening is really important.

"Gardening is gentle exercise and offers residents a safe way to socialise together again.

"We're now going to extend the raised beds so everyone can easily get involved."

The gardening club has already filled the polytunnel shelves with trays of seedlings; annual and perennial flowers and vegetables including tomatoes, beans and peas.

Local people have also donated garden furniture, bulbs and lilies, dahlias, primulas and a beautiful camellia.

Northwich Guardian: Pete Attwood with Transition Northwich volunteers.

“Visitors often comment on our lovely grounds and now that residents can get actively involved in raising plants and adding to the displays we are keen to enter our garden for the Britain in Bloom competition," Margaret added.

"We also hope the success of our project inspires other residential homes to start their own gardening clubs."

Pete Attwood of Groundwork and Grozone Community Garden Team, showed volunteers from Transition Northwich how to install the polytunnel.

“Transition Northwich volunteers can get involved with lots of interesting projects”, explains coordinator, Alison Allum.

“As well as helping in our own community garden, Rod's Secret Garden, or at the orchard, we help other groups to realise their projects.

"It's such a satisfying way to contribute to the town, we all learn new skills and make new friends.

"Pete has helped us to restore the Dane Valley Community Orchard and with his guidance here, we were able to lay a paved floor, suitable for wheelchairs, and install the polytunnel really professionally."

Margaret and the gardening team are now looking forward to visiting other, local gardening clubs to get ideas and they would be delighted to hear from anyone who has spare seeds, plants or hand tools for their gardening club.

Please contact Transition Northwich via their website for volunteer information or to contact the Anderton Place Gardening Club.