Stafford and Rural Homes | Young gardeners recognised with awards
Garden Competition

Young gardeners recognised with awards

The efforts of two young people to help others and improve the environment have been recognised by Stafford and Rural Homes (SARH).

Alisha Robinson (13) and Jake Rock (16) were named as the joint winners in the Young Gardener category during the housing association’s ever-popular Gardens Competition.

During a blistering summer, judges have been visiting private and communal gardens to find the hidden talents of SARH customers when it comes to creating fantastic spaces to relax and enjoy the great outdoors.

For Elisha this has involved spending hours of her spare time transforming a paved communal courtyard into a little oasis of potted plants and flowers at her grandmother’s home, a SARH Independent Living Scheme in Stafford.

Meanwhile Jake has been growing his own fruit and vegetables on an allotment plot in Stone as part of the acclaimed Growing Health project, managed by SARH in partnership with the Borough Council.

No stranger to awards success, Jake has previously won the award alongside his brother, Dennis but says he was still surprised to be amongst this year’s winners.

“With all the dry weather it’s been hard work on the allotment keeping everything watered. As a result we’ve not done so well with vegetables such as runner beans but we’re looking forward to a bumper crop of pumpkins!” he explained.

First-time winner Alisha discovered her green fingers when she volunteered to help her grandmother tidy up a courtyard at Hall Close where she’s installed and tended a beautiful selection of pots and hanging baskets containing colourful flowers and plants.

Her mum, Tammy, commented: “The award has come as a big surprise and it reflects how the resident’s appreciate Alisha’s efforts. We are all very proud of her.”

The accolades were presented during a special event at the housing association’s headquarters in Parker Court, Stafford and the Mayor of Stafford Borough, Cllr Ray Barron and Stone Mayor, Cllr Kristan Green, were on hand to congratulate award winners.

Guests at the event also enjoyed a talk by Hayley Mival from the National Trust who gave an insight into the history of one of the area’s most history buildings, Shugborough Hall, and its gardens.

Other awards presented on the day included:

  • Best Lawn – Mr Hendrie, Hixon
  • Best Front Garden – Mr and Mrs Murfin, Great Haywood
  • Best Back Garden – Steve Jarratt, Stafford
  • Best Wildlife/Eco Garden – St George’s Road residents
  • Most Creative Use of Space – James Brown, Barlaston
  • Best Allotment Plot/Veg Garden – Michelle Matthias from Brookhouse Drive Allotment.
  • Shirley Wheat Award for Best Communal Garden – Lichfield Court, Stafford
  • Community Gardener of the Year – Steve Jarratt, Stafford

Introducing the awards, and quoting actress Penelope Keith, SARH Chief Executive Karen Armitage said she believed that planning a garden was really planning for future generations, as many of the features will outlive us.

“I’m delighted that so many SARH customers are represented here at the awards and I’m sure future generations will enjoy their efforts as well as those already benefitting from the hard work and skill of everyone who entered,” added Karen, who also wrote a poem to celebrate the occasion:


My thanks to all that have taken time to be gathered with us here

As we celebrate our Stafford and Rural gardens, for yet another year

I am so pleased to see you all with the pride you’ve achieved in all you have grown

As you create something so wonderful in the space around your home


I am delighted to lead this event and see how we all come together

To celebrate the wonderful results in a year with such unusual weather

Thank you most sincerely from all here who have worked hard to make this special for you

For the wonderful work and great outcomes that you have all contributed too


It only remains to say lets celebrate together and enjoy all the tea and cake

Dignitaries staff and wonderful customers some social time now we can make

Remember there is always beauty that comes from working hard as part of a crew

In allotments gardens and flowerbeds work is easier when those you value help too


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