The Carers’ Centre, Bath

Many people of all ages may find themselves the unpaid carer for someone who needs extra support day to day, from children looking after a parent with a disability to an elderly couple where one partner is the carer for the other.

The Carers’ Centre helps carers who live in Bath and North East Somerset. They provide information and advice, breaks from caring and emotional support together with personal development, support into work and a Carer’s Emergency Card.

The Bath office moved to new premises in late 2013. The building provided just the accommodation they required with some car parking space. However it had an unused and desolate plot of land at the side so they contacted Avon Gardens Trust to find out about funding as they wanted to transform this area. Just as we were making some suggestions, help came from an unexpected source: the BBC’s The One Show.

The One Show had a garden on display at the Royal Horticultural Society’s Hampton Court Flower Show in 2014 designed by the winner of the television programme’s competition. It was inspired by the Roman Baths and the unique Georgian architecture of Bath. At the end of the flower show, the RHS and the One Show were keen to find a permanent home for it in the city which had inspired it. Thanks to support from Bath & North East Somerset Council and Bath in Bloom the garden was gifted to the Carers’ Centre.

Volunteers installed the garden together with an outdoor cabin designed for carers to use during the summer months. Enough space remained to install a raised planter for a wildflower garden on the patio which would be enjoyed by everyone.

Having run out of funds, the Centre applied to Avon Gardens Trust for a grant to create and install a wildflower planter using recycled materials where possible. In their application the Centre emphasised “how caring is rewarding but also tiring, stressful and lonely if you do not have the right support. The garden is part of that support, a place for carers to relax and unwind; take advantage of the therapeutic effect of gardening; make new friends and enjoy precious time outdoors. The garden is open every day of the week and there is a regular gardening club.”

We look forward to catching up with the planting in the early summer and a continuing relationship with the Carers’ Centre in Bath.

Wendy Pollard