Harden gardeners swap skills in scheme

Keighley News: Members of the Bradford Shares Harden Garden project Members of the Bradford Shares Harden Garden project

Flower power is helping older people get out and about by sharing their skills with other people.

Members of the Harden Garden group have planted winter pansies and bulbs to distribute to other over-55s.

In return they would like lifts to other groups or activities, or people willing to accompany them as they do their hobbies.

The people are all involved with the Bradford Shares network, whose members use their talents as “currency”.

Bradford Shares co-ordinator Shona Grange said each of the over-55s had earned credits which they could use to buy other skills and services.

She said: “For instance, one person would like a lift to a singing group. We have had all sorts of requests, including people wanting to swap recipes with or share hobbies including fishing and model railways, crafts and art.

“Many requests are for people who like to go out but feel uncomfortable going alone, so we’re looking for buddies who like to go to the theatre or out for meals, as well as church groups and community groups.

“We’d like to appeal to people who already attend a group or activity on a regular basis and take a car that has a spare seat to consider registering with Bradford Shares.”

Shona said that such people would be able to register what they would like to “claim back”, such as help with ironing or gardening.

Shona said that as a result of some of the skills offered, Bradford Shares had been able to set up basic computer classes, a community gym and an allotment.

She also wanted to hear from groups in need of volunteers aged over 55, or groups with equipment they no longer needed.

Shona said the Harden Garden group had planted bulbs, which would come up around Christmas.

She said: “We are looking for nominations of people to receive these, especially those without gardens and who may feel isolated.”

Stephen H Smith’s garden centre has become the first business to register with Bradford Shares, offering space at its premises for activities, materials and garden vouchers for over-55s.

Shona added: “We’re hoping that other businesses will come on board and offer vouchers, spare materials, or resources that people can use in retirement to help keep them independent.”

Anyone interested in Bradford Shares should contact Shona on (01274) 482438 or e-mail shona. grange@creativesupport.co.uk.

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