Alan Titchmarsh officially opened the Chelsea Pensioners’ new allotments at the Royal Hospital Chelsea today, which have been built thanks to a generous donation from The Steel Charitable Trust.
The allotments are part of the Royal Hospital Chelsea’s new horticultural programme, which has been designed to deliver therapeutic benefits for all green-fingered Chelsea Pensioners. As well as 13 allotment plots planted and looked after by Chelsea Pensioners, there are raised beds for the less agile, and four sensory gardens for Pensioners with dementia.
Renowned gardener Alan Titchmarsh, who is also a Specially Appointed Commissioner at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, has helped to design and select the plants used in the Royal Hospital’s sensory garden.
He said of today’s opening: “Whenever I visit the Royal Hospital Chelsea, I love to see the Chelsea Pensioners enjoying the therapeutic benefits of gardening as I do. I’m very much looking forward to seeing how the new allotments develop over the next few years, and would like to thank The Steel Charitable Trust for their generous donation.”
The Steel Charitable Trust said: “The Trustees are delighted to have awarded this year's Robert Steel Memorial Grant of £50,000 plus a further £28,000 towards the allotment scheme for the Pensioners at the Royal Hospital Chelsea.
“They trust that it will provide great enjoyment and pleasure to many of the Royal Hospital Chelsea’s residents.”
Chelsea Pensioner Barbara Whilds, who has lived at the Royal Hospital for three years, is one of the new Allotment holders. She spoke of the enjoyment gardening gives her: “I used to have a smallholding and gardening has always been something I’ve been keen on doing when I’ve had the time.
“I had to leave my garden when I came to the Royal Hospital, so to have my own patch where I can grow my own fruit such as raspberries, rhubarb and grapes, is wonderful. It’s also a pleasure to work alongside the other Pensioners and see how their Allotments develop as each one has its own unique character.”
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