From education to employment

Students at Bath College brighten up the gardens at local care home

A new gardening project, involving students at Bath College, is making a difference to the lives of residents at a local care home. 

The group of students have been working on the gardens at Stratton House Care Home in Bath since April, helping to clear patches of brambles, weeding and litter picking, as well as sanding and painting benches.

They are all part of the college’s Life and Independent Living Skills (LILS) programme, which focuses on developing life and work skills through practical classes and community work experience.

Between them, students have put in 836 hours of volunteering, and as a thank you, they were invited to a volunteers’ party, with tea, party poppers and music.

Student Georgia Long, who has been helping to plant a new vegetable plot, said: “I have really enjoyed the volunteering experience. They are lovely people, really friendly. My favourite job was working on the lavender bushes, because I like the smell. I have been talking to people and telling them what I’ve done.”

Stratton House Care Home, on Park Lane, is a residential care home with over 30 beds. As part of the project, residents have enjoyed talking about gardening with students and sharing lunchtimes with them.

Sarah Crockett, community coordinator at Stratton House, said: “It makes such a difference to know that people from the local community care about us and about making life better.

“One of the best sessions was when we came out and had our lunch on the lawn, just being about to sit together with the students was really important. They have done some beautiful gardening – you can see the results.”

Student Engagement Officer Hayley Hayward-Boyle helped set up the project with Stratton House Care Home, which will continue with a new group of students in September.

Lecturer Suzann Taylor, from the Foundation Learning Department at Bath College, said: “This volunteering project will improve their work skills and communication targets.

“Some of our students are finishing the course this year, and will be progressing to our step-up diploma or Project SEARCH, a supported internship programme preparing young people for the workplace.

“This is getting them used to a working environment. For example, two of our students, Oliver and Katie, both paid for themselves on the bus today. It’s getting them to practice those kind of things.”

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