Evergreening the elderly, the story of Rootless Garden

Pic: Frances. The Rootless Garden team; Daniela Cabral, Nadia Daghistani and Indie Shergill.

By Adrian Whyatt.

A day centre garden once in need of some fresh energy is now surrounded by a riot of colourful pots and plants in full bloom. And happy smiling members.

How did this come about?

A small group of gardeners from the centre joyously painted and planted them, with support, tuition and materials from Rootless Garden. The social enterprise goes into care homes, day centres, churches and other places where the elderly meet, such as social clubs and pubs. They bring gardening projects into these settings.

Rootless Garden are ‘micropreneurs’: a tiny entrepreneurial company. They registered last year as a company and have two directors and co-founders, Nadia Daghistani and Indie Shergill. Daniela Cabral, their Business Development Associate is working there for 3 months.

They previously worked in care homes for the elderly. Nadia says: “the most important part of Rootless Garden is to bring people together. London is a lonely city, even for people our age. So we create comfortable places where older people can come and meet”.

She says “her dream is to create a model which can be easily transferable, a type of toolkit so people can do it in other places, for example in the North.”

It is precisely these additional activities which are the easiest to cut in care home budgets. So, Rootless Garden, which is entirely funded from sources outside of Local Authority and National Health Budgets is helping to fill this gap. And generating activities where there had been none.

Currently it works Monday-Friday, 9-5, and has projects in Kingston, Crouch End and Chiswick.  There is a big gap in the provision of services outside these hours, and this would be an obvious area for them to expand into.

They have been funded by Unlimited and the O2 Foundation. Their biggest challenge remains funding. As Indie says “money is our catch 22.” But they are small and nimble and have very low overheads. And they are bringing in projects to services which would not be eligible for funding from the same sources directly.

They are also based, for free, at the Camden Collective, which is funded jointly by the Mayor of London’s Office and Camden Council.

They are an idea and an organisation whose time has come and who look set to grow. For more information visit Rootless Gardens website

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