Main photo: Matt tries out the new tractor on a visit to the Garden.
The Walled Garden is being transformed to provide COVID safe bubbles amidst preparations to welcome back members of Ripon Community Link, currently being supported at home.
Staff at our partner charity in Ripon, which supports adults with learning difficulties, have been working hard through lockdown and the past couple of months to tend to the beautiful orchard, woodland and garden areas.
At the same time the Link’s 55 members have been offered a comprehensive home support programme including singing and dancing over Zoom and planned daily activities such as baking and arts and crafts. Carers have been supported by phone but staff say members have greatly missed coming to the garden and to the Link’s other site, St Wilfrid’s bungalow.
The charity’s two sites will operate a bubble system creating small groups which will work together in single locations such as the tea room and the new garden room at the Walled Garden; this will keep members and staff safer and minimise cross infection as much as possible.
Socially distanced picnic tables have been set up for people to sit and enjoy a take-away drink or homemade cake, though this may need to cease as members return.
The Link’s Sarah Johnson explained: “The work we have done with members at home has been really successful and a lot of work is going on now to plan our sessions; we are also putting together a video to show our members exactly what to expect. As has always been the case, our priority is the welfare of our members. We have to be extremely careful and we are following advice from North Yorkshire County Council.”
The Walled Garden has been badly hit by the pandemic with fundraising events cancelled and retail income from the shop and tea room greatly affected. There are currently a wide variety of plants including Autumn bedding, planters and bird tables available to buy from the Garden and these can be ordered by phone for collection or delivery. Jams and chutneys are also on sale and you can find out more on how to support them by visiting www.riponcommunitylink.org