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Volunteers help Pannel Croft village to bloom

The rooftop garden at ExtraCare’s Pannel Croft Village in Birmingham has been given a gold-medal makeover thanks to law firm, Shakespeare Martineau and Midlands garden designer, Victoria Philpott.

Earlier this month, Chatsworth House was in full bloom thanks to the RHS Flower Show. Amongst the many beautiful displays was Philpott’s long border, ‘The Bess of Hardwick’. Sponsored by Shakespeare Martineau, the exhibition border, which contained peonies, poppies, great burnet and herbs, highlighted the parallels between Bess and the strong women of the Midlands today.

To make the most of the stunning plants, Shakespeare Martineau made the decision to donate them to a worthy cause. A total of 140 shrubs, perennials and herbs have been used to enhance Pannel Croft Village’s roof garden.

Established in 1988, the ExtraCare Charitable Trust is a registered charity dedicated to enriching the lives of older people. Operating twenty retirement villages and schemes throughout the Midlands and further south, the charity supports older people to live independently by providing homes they want, lifestyles they can enjoy and care if it’s needed

The village’s rooftop garden was the perfect spot for some horticultural rejuvenation, with the Shakespeare Martineau team and resident volunteers spending two days planting each of the 140 plants by hand. From foxgloves to peonies, the finished garden is now full of life.

For that extra bit of wow-factor, the volunteers also spruced up and painted the fences and outdoor furniture, as well as ensuring that the outdoor chess set was worthy of the chess grand-master.

Simon Hall, Village Manager at Pannel Croft Retirement Village comments: “By engaging our volunteers and residents, we’re hoping to reinvigorate the community aspect of the village; helping people feel included and participate in shaping something that will be used for years to come. It was lovely yesterday, despite the weather conditions, residents brought their own music, they were laughing and dancing, talking to our sponsors and it was really heart-warming to see people who perhaps don’t normally live or work together, or even know each other, getting along as if they were old friends!”

To celebrate the opening of this beautiful garden, residents and volunteers were invited to come together for a rooftop party among the stunning new surroundings. Most of the shrubs and perennials planted will come back every year, meaning the space will be garden party-ready for many years to come.

Sarah Walker-Smith, CEO at Shakespeare Martineau, said: “Supporting local charities is a central part of our CSR work across the firm and we think that businesses have a responsibility to engage with – and support – their local communities. ExtraCare’s Pannel Croft Village does incredible work with residents ensuring their later years are as enjoyable as possible.

“All of our volunteer gardeners did a brilliant job bringing Victoria’s vision to life and it was great to see them get their hands dirty! We hope that this wonderful garden will be a place of happiness for everyone at the village, now and into the future.”

Jeff Wyle, Pannel Croft Resident Volunteer said: “Two to three years ago I volunteered to do litter picking, unfortunately I had to use a walker and couldn’t carry on, so when this other opportunity came up I volunteered. It’s great to do this for the residents and I like doing it, I’ve always enjoyed my work. I’ve been helping out with the trellis painting as much as I can, there was about 4 or 5 of us doing it. It’s great to see the finished results and see the difference of what we have done.”

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