Stratford Samaritans Community Hub was delighted to be one of the three projects chosen by local Tesco staff to benefit from its Bags of Help initiative in 2016. The funding will help to create a Green Refuge, a place where people of all ages and abilities can enjoy the therapeutic benefits of gardening. The transformation of the 85 foot strip of earth to the right of the building has been completed. The uneven surface has been levelled so that it fully accessible and we have raised beds ready for planting.

Clare Neale, Hub Manager said:

The staff and volunteers who use Tyler House, including Stratford Samaritans, Lifespace and St Basils, help some of the most vulnerable people in our community. We want to give them and everyone who uses the Hub, somewhere to recharge their batteries and enjoy the unique sense of wellbeing that you experience in a garden, whether you are sitting in it or getting your hands dirty.

When we became members of the Dementia Action Alliance in 2017 we realised that there was scope to make the garden even more attractive and relevant for one of Stratford’s fastest growing but unseen communities, people living with dementia and their carers. Gardening activities offer scope for reminiscence and reconnection, with new friends and old.

We love the idea of a gardening community which welcomes everyone – those with learning difficulties, people with a wide range of mental health challenges, those with physical impairments including reduced vision and hearing, people facing financial and housing crisis, and people with early and established dementia, with those who care for them. Some people might just pop in for a cuppa and a chat, others will be taking part in growing projects that give them a sense of achievement and shared success.

To turn our small place into a magical space we still need a little help. Our “shopping list” includes:

  • Plants (suitable for our diverse range of users) – shrubs, perennials and climbers
  • Pots and planters of different heights
  • Mulch/compost
  • Seating
  • Pergolas/arches
  • Water
  • Ornaments/statues/decorative elements that appeal to different visitors
  •  Hands! If you are looking for a team building exercise or want to give back to the community we can help.

If you can help with any of these please contact us on

Groundwork – the community charity with a green heart – administers the funding in England and Wales.