English country garden in urban Benwell

Green-fingered residents at our supported housing scheme at Clennel House in Newcastle are nurturing an English country garden, thanks to the backing of Bernicia.

Clennel House residents John Rose, Colin Wood and Alan Hill are putting the £1,300 Community Investment Fund award from the Bernicia Community Investment Panel to maximum use.

They’ve bought 50 wooden sleepers to make flower beds, filled them with five tonnes of top soil and spread 80 bags of manure to give the flowers and vegetables the best possible start.

Now residents in our 32 flats and eight bungalows can enjoy tomatoes, potatoes, onions and cabbages as well as sit and admire the floral displays in the garden outside their front doors, with ponds and a seated decking area.

Bernicia’s Steve Burke has worked closely with the green-fingered locals who are proud of the “little oasis” they’ve lovingly created.

Colin said: “The reason we do this is we want to live in a nice environment. Where I used to live was mess and rubbish all over the place and you come to live here and it’s a different world really – it’s like paradise sometimes in the summer.

“It’s great to be involved with, I potter about and do my bit. Without the grant we would have struggled to do what we’ve done.”

And Alan added: “I’ve lived here over ten years and Clennel House is one fantastic place to live. We’ve got a garden, we’ve got a greenhouse where we grow our own veg, plants and flowers.

“For me, I get the pleasure of being in the greenhouse every single day, even Christmas Day. We’ve got our own tomatoes, beans, cauliflowers, peas, all the veg so we can supply all the tenants so they’ve always got them.

“We’ve always got flowers all the way around the building as well to make it look beautiful.”