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A feisty group of green-fingered residents have created an oasis out of an eyesore after a year of hard work and patience.

The group of elderly residents, based in Swarcliffe, East Leeds, became so fed up of seeing their gardens looking so shabby that they decided to come together and do something about it.

Sandwiched between the Sherburn Court flats, which is a sheltered housing scheme for older people, and York Road, the dilapidated area was in need of some tender loving care.

The idea of a gardening club was jumped upon and the group rolled their sleeves up and set to work. When they heard of the venture, Yorkshire Housing agreed to step in with additional funds.

George Harmer and William Dixon, who helped transform the garden, said it was a talking point for local people. Despite concerns at the beginning, residents are now learning to love the peaceful area. George said:

“It was a jungle. It was really bad when we started doing it. We now regularly have people telling us the garden is looking nice. They’re starting to appreciate it now.”

The garden features hanging baskets, sloping lawns, a garden shed, which was paid for with National Lottery funds, and a greenhouse. There’s also a memorial area with roses of every colour guarding small wooden signs depicting the names of lost loved ones.

Bill said the garden has helped people come together: “The mornings are quiet because the garden is in the shade then. But then people come once the sun comes out around 2pm.”

As for the next stage, George has more colourful visions. He said: “We’ll be entering Leeds in Bloom for community involvement, and we’d love to tackle the plain, turfed front garden too, to be able to put some flowers and everything in there so people can look out and see some colour.”

Yorkshire Housing PFI project manager, Sally Kendrick, said:

“The garden gives the residents a sense of purpose. They get up and come out here and they enjoy it. It encourages a camaraderie and socialising. Other people want to come in and enjoy it too. Older people suffer from social isolation, so we should be supporting projects like this in sheltered housing, providing opportunities to socialise and support each other.”