These residents have gone the extra mile to show how proud they are of their homes and their communities.
Christine and Peter Rush – Proud of their home
Stepping into Christine and Peter Rush’s back garden is like being transported to another world.
Their tranquil oasis, as well as being visually stunning, is a real feast for the senses, with wind chimes blowing in the breeze, water flowing into the ornate pond, and the sweet smell of freshly grown vegetables filling the air.
The couple, who moved into their home in 2010, have invested hours of personal time to create their immaculate Oriental-themed garden, which features a luscious green lawn, fish pond (with bridge), a beautiful array of flower beds, and an authentic tea house constructed using recycled materials.
Peter’s pride and joy is his ‘Grumpy’s Retreat’ potting shed, along with a vegetable garden any greengrocer would be proud of!
When PHP re-launched its residents’ gardening completion in 2015, Christine and Peter wasted no time in submitting their entry. To say the judges were blown away by their efforts is an understatement, and the couple received the prize not just for best back garden, but were highly commended in the best front garden category too.
“Our garden is like another room for us,” said Christine. “If for any reason we don’t get to take a holiday, the garden provides a beautiful, relaxing space for us to enjoy.”
Suzie Woffindale and Avril King – Proud of developing their community
Residents of Sterte Court in Poole, a 60-year-old development which PHP finished refurbishing in 2015, Suzie and Avril’s efforts to build camaraderie and spirit amongst the Sterte community – both during and after the works – have been nothing short of inspirational.
When the two-year project started, many feared the inevitable noise and inconvenience would unsettle the community. But rather than divide residents, a specially installed drop-in centre (with lounge, kitchen facilities and organised activities) brought neighbours together in a way they hadn’t before.
Suzie and Avril built a friendship, and when PHP proposed installing a community food-growing scheme on the site, they jumped at the chance to help. They started the Sterte gardening club, ran neighbourhood events (including a spooky Halloween get-together) and used their relationship with PHP to signpost their neighbours to the correct source of support.
They were thrust centre stage when the Mayor of Poole officially launched the revitalised Sterte Court this year. Speaking at the time, Suzie said: “We used to be embarrassed by our homes, but now we couldn’t be prouder!”
Keen to develop their community further, Avril and Suzie recently applied for PHP funding to build a pergola, pathway and trio of garden sheds for all residents to enjoy. A children’s play area is also being planned.
Avril and Suzie are now looking forward to carols and mince pies with their neighbours around Sterte’s very own Christmas tree!
Angie Warren – Proud of her neighbourhood
As a member of the Residents of Alderney West, a community group formed in 2013 to help improve Alderney West in Poole, Angie Warren is passionate about her home and her neighbourhood.
So when, in early 2015, PHP and Borough of Poole announced plans to develop a new children’s play play park in the area, the group was keen to get involved.
Undeterred by earlier technical complications which delayed the project, the Alderney West residents sprang into action, asking local children to choose the pieces of equipment they would like to play on.
The 500m2 play area, which was officially opened by the children who helped design it, features a tunnel mound, team swing, climbing frame and agility trail. Over 100 children turned out to have a play on the first day!
The residents named the play area ‘Alderney Orchard’ to reflect its location and proximity to a family of fruit trees. Emily Watts, PHP housing officer who applied for the funding, commended Angie and the rest of the community for their commitment to the project: “Without their hard work, perseverance and enthusiasm, the play area would still be a pipe dream,” she said.
Alderney Orchard has received recognition from the local MP and MEP, and thanks to its connection with the nearby community garden, is set to be enjoyed by generations of children to come. Sandra Willson, Resident Involvement Co-ordinator.