Friendships flourish for lockdown gardeners

November 04 2020

RESIDENTS of the Magpie Court Retirement Living Plus development in Hanham say they have been determined to turn the current climate into a positive one and have grown even closer as a community during the pandemic.
Margaret Oxenham, 79, and Barbara Clements, 84, are two of the residents. Barbara moved from Hexham in rural Northumberland in July 2019 mainly to be closer to her famil. Margaret, who has lived in Bristol all her life, also moved into Magpie Court just over a year ago as she wanted to maintain her active lifestyle.
At the start of lockdown, Magpie Court’s estate manager, Bartosz Turewicz, and his team made sure they did everything they could to help residents. This included hosting daily exercise sessions for retirees to join in on their balconies, organising regular socially distanced quizzes and Sunday sing-a-longs in the garden, as well as delivering food, medicine and other supplies to residents who were shielding and couldn’t get out and about.
Barbara said: “I really can’t speak highly enough of Bart and the team; they have been just amazing. They have done so much for us, not just to ensure our safety, but also to keep us entertained – nothing has been too much trouble.
“The balcony exercise sessions were so much fun, Bart and the team really worked hard to make them enjoyable. As well as keeping us active, they gave us something to look forward to each day, along with a much-needed opportunity for us to socialise – particularly for those who were shielding at the time.”
Margaret set up a Gardening Club during lockdown. She said:  “We all put some money into a pot and contributed together to purchase different plants, tubs and rose trees from a local garden centre, which were delivered straight to us. Everyone got involved, so it was great to do something together - we have always been a close-knit community, so we really didn’t want to lose sight of that.”
The residents held a socially distanced raffle in the garden, which raised £345. The money  will go towards winter plants.