Bridging the generation gap through green scheme

Paignton residents have been showcasing their green skills by giving unwanted household items a fresh lease of life at a newly-created community garden.

The donations have been given to Grow Gap – a project organised by So-Fly with support from Sanctuary Housing and funded by Ageing Well Torbay – which is transforming an area of land at Great Parks Community Centre into a stunning green space.

Including an old drum kit and compost bins, the household goods have been recycled into quirky containers for the wide array of flowers, plants and herbs grown at the project.

The pots sit alongside the other completed features at Grow Gap, which include level paths placed among the raised beds to make the space accessible for everyone, and a variety of bright flowers and shrubs to encourage wildlife.

Project staff are working to recruit volunteers from all age groups across Torbay, with the hope that different generations can learn from each other. Last month’s hot weather saw children from Great Parks Kids’ Club come along to help water the flowers with their themed watering cans.

Sanctuary’s neighbourhood partnerships manager, Lynne Roberts, said: “Grow Gap has already proven to be a valuable resource in Torbay, with residents both young and old enjoying the garden.

“The project is instilling a real sense of community to Paignton as people of all ages share time and skills to close the gap between the generations.”

Karen Parker, one of the Grow Gap project leads, added: “Despite the extreme weather we’ve had over the last few months – from snow and rain to blazing sunshine – the garden has held up really well, and that’s testament to the hard work put in by the volunteers to maintain it.

“We have just finished sowing a wild flower patch which is full of colour, and we are now heading towards our winter vegetable planting. All local residents are welcome to come along and lend a hand, whether they are an experienced gardener or a complete beginner.”

Residents who are interested paying a visit, or volunteering at the garden, can contact Grow Gap by emailing or

Ageing Well Torbay is a six-year programme that helps reduce social isolation in older people and is funded by the Big Lottery Fund using National Lottery funding.