Kenilworth Catenians helped to transform an overgrown allotment garden in Stratford-upon-Avon as part of their 2019 charitable activities.

Brother Bernard Baxter, the Kenilworth Circle President, had chosen Heart of England Mencap as his charity last year.

“I wanted to select a charity for which we could not only raise funds but also get involved in some activities," he said.

During Bernard's discussion with HoE Mencap’s CEO, Helena Wallis, it became apparent that there were some great opportunities to help.

One in particular was the allotment garden at Eastwell House in Stratford-upon-Avon. The property provides for six adults (known as customers) and also has a sizeable plot at the rear.

Whilst half of this plot is lawn, the other half, once a nicely organised allotment garden, had unfortunately been left unattended and was barely recognisable.

Working with one of the HoE Mencap staff, Kate Buttrick (Programme Coordinator) and customers of Eastwell, Brothers and Ladies of Kenilworth set to work to bring it back to its former glory.

This involved cutting down the lengthy grass areas, digging out two sizeable beds, rebuilding two raised beds, painting the small shed, clearing the greenhouse and commencing some planting ready for the Autumn season.

There were two raised beds that needed a complete overhaul as their bases were rotten. Chives and other herbs were planted, and now customers Nick, Russell and Margaret enjoy the tending and watering.

Members of the team did a fantastic job of sorting and tidying the greenhouse enabling access for any customer to grow their own tomatoes and cucumbers.

“I just want to say a HUGE thank you on behalf of all of us for your amazing efforts at Eastwell," said Helena.
"It was an amazing summer and I hope the team weren’t too overheated during their days work there. I think the efforts have made the customers and staff team motivated to keep up with the standard and to try and bring the setting back to life.

"I had great feedback from the team.”

Kate added: “What a great day experience! It was lovely to meet the Catenians and the difference everyone has made has been brilliant."

The Services Coordinator at Eastwell House, Cate Mahon, also commented: "The staff and customers have asked me to convey their heartfelt thanks to you and the team for your hard work. They are thrilled with the results and are looking forward to being able to get back to work in it.

"We are very grateful to you all for giving up your time to work on this project.”

In the Spring some of the Catenian team will visit the site again to prepare and plant for this year.

Finally, from Brother President Bernard: “I am really thrilled with the commitment and hard work completed by my fellow Catenian Brothers and Ladies.

"We are all about helping those in need and Eastwell provided a fabulous opportunity to work together for this community.

"I hope now that our working relationship with Heart of England Mencap continues providing benefits to everyone involved.”

Kenilworth Circle is part of the Catenian Association. The Association is over 100 years old and is an international body of Catholic laymen. It now has 10,000 Brothers and almost 150 Circles nationwide, as well as fellow organisations worldwide.

For more information about the Kenilworth Catenians please email David Prescott

Photo Gallery

Kenilworth Catenians

Photos 1&2: Eastwell allotment garden – ‘before’
Photo 3: Reclaiming two beds, revealing fruit shrubs in one and herbs in the other.
Photo 4: Coaching residents to paint the small shed resulting in a very bright and cheerful corner of the plot.
Photos 5&6: Raised Bed ‘before’ and ‘after’ 
Photo 7: Let the planting begin!
Photo 8: Greenhouse ‘before’ 
Photo 9: Relaying the base inside
Photo 10: Fixing various shelves 
Photo 11: Greenhouse ‘after’ - a job well done!
Photo 12: Catenians along with Eastwell Staff and Customers