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Case study - Olive Self at Kendall Lodge, Bromley

Kendall Lodge in Bromley is one of a number of Hyde schemes where a new contract for garden maintenance and cleaning came into force this year. This followed a major re-procurement programme aimed at providing better value for money and maintaining high standards of service for residents.

The communal garden at Kendall Lodge - a scheme of 34 retirement/sheltered properties – is expansive with many well established trees, borders, and interesting nooks and crannies. Despite the development being close to a main road, the garden is quiet and is much loved by its residents.

“Our garden is important to us,” says resident and avid gardener, Olive Self (84), who has lived at Kendall Lodge for the past four years, and has noticed an improvement.

The garden boasts a number of well-established fruit trees – walnut, plum and apple – which are a treat for visitors such as birds, squirrels and a fox who eagerly await the falling fruit. There’s even a grape vine due to bloom next year.

Olive explains: “I’m very happy with the service; and I haven’t heard any bad reports. I think it’s better than before; its regular and the gardeners seem to be in and out quickly. Sometimes I’m not here, so I don’t always see them, but as long as it’s tidy and well maintained, I don’t mind,” she explains.

The new grounds maintenance team from Hispec Services visits the Kendall Lodge every other Wednesday. Scheme officer, Alice Reavall, explains that the new contract only began on 1 June 2016, so it’s still early days, and may take time for the residents to become aware of changes. “So far the work has been good, but we’re heading into winter so there’s not much happening in the garden right now,” she says.

Olive loves pottering in the garden, tidying up, and planting perennials. She also enjoys spending time with fellow resident Maisie Wright (93) creating a small oasis around her friend’s ground floor flat.

“We love being outdoors, especially on those hot summer afternoons that seem to go on forever. Even if they don’t garden, I think all the residents appreciate being out in the garden; it’s really pretty when everything is in full bloom – roses, African daisies, wisteria… Sometimes, when the weather is good we have barbeques at the back near the old coach house, or people just sit in the sun.”

Olive, who used to work in retail and in factories, has always found inner peace from being surrounded by nature. “I’ve always loved trees and plants. It all really started when I lived in a flat in an old Victorian House in Beckenham with huge gardens.”

She loves being one of a number of active gardeners at Kendall Lodge. Olive points out where fellow gardening enthusiast, Brian, cleared away a huge amount of ivy and erected boards above the wall so that creepers like honeysuckle and jasmine could be planted to create a pretty display. She even shows before and after pictures of this secluded area of the garden.

Olive says the best thing about the new gardeners is that they are so approachable. “It’s nice to see friendly faces. I asked one young man recently if they could remove the cuttings and trimmings we had cleared into garbage bags, and he said ‘no problem’.