Home Wellbeing Sun shines as new garden opened to improve air quality for Islington’s most vulnerable residents

Sun shines as new garden opened to improve air quality for Islington’s most vulnerable residents

by Kirsty Kirsty

An innovative project to help tackle air pollution and its detrimental health impacts has been completed at an Islington care home with the opening of a new garden.  Islington’s deputy mayor, Cllr Jason Jackson, attended a garden party hosted by staff and residents of Bridgeside Lodge to mark the event. Senior executives from Forest Healthcare celebrated along with the residents, team members, families and volunteers.

Bridgeside Lodge, on Wharf Road, was one of nine care homes in the borough to complete an audit last summer looking at air quality in and around the property.  Following the review, a number of initiatives were put in place to improve air quality within the home – including closing windows when air quality monitors indicated high levels of pollution outside.  Uniquely, the pollution around Bridgeside Lodge is linked to fuel use by canal barges – both for propulsion and cooking/heating. Air filters are now used in those rooms where higher pollution is found, and barges encouraged not to use fossil fuels when mooring outside the home.

The home’s manager, Fatma Makalo, then applied for additional funding to develop the riverside garden, creating a space which would help absorb pollution.

“We were so delighted when we secured the funding to develop our outdoor spaces, and after months of hard work, the garden is now landscaped and planted with the most beautiful array of climbing plants, wild flowers and shrubs,” says Fatma.  “Not only does this create a wonderful space for residents to enjoy, but urban gardens like this can help absorb pollutants in the atmosphere, making the air cleaner for everyone.  Ivy screens, water-efficient planters and wildflower turf have truly transformed this space, in line with the audit’s recommendations.”

The home has also installed additional bicycle parking to help encourage staff and visitors to minimise their carbon footprint when visiting the home.

The scheme is run by Islington Council with funding from DEFRA.  It is part of a pilot, which is hoped can be adopted by other local authorities around the country, with data from the Islington trial made available to any interested parties.

“We were truly blessed with fantastic weather on the day, as the sun shone on the Regent’s Canal, and our residents and their families enjoyed a wonderful garden party to kick off the summer,” adds Fatma.  “We were delighted to welcome Cllr Jackson to officially cut the ribbon to declare the garden open, and our resident loved chatting to him during the afternoon.”

Amanda Scott, CEO said, “We are very grateful that Islington Council recognised Bridgeside Lodge as part of the wider community when considering the grant awards.

“I hope this garden will be a safe place of joy, comfort, rest, fun, music and laughter for many years to come.”

Bridgeside Lodge offers dedicated and specialist care within a contemporary, gated care centre adjacent to the stunning Regent’s Canal in Islington.  The 24-hour care facility is built and furnished to the highest standards, offering support for adults aged 18 and above, including older people, with professional care support for many conditions, including neurological, spinal and dementia diagnoses.  The home has 64 ensuite bedrooms to make a home-from-home for residents.  Bridgeside Lodge has been rated as Outstanding by the Care Quality Commission (October 2023).  It is part of the Forest Healthcare family of homes around the South East of England.

For more information, please visit www.foresthc.com/our-care-centres/bridgeside-lodge/

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