Support Elders in your community with the power of nature

Keen gardeners will know that simply sitting in a beautiful garden surrounded by flowers, fragrances, vegetables and spices can lift the soul.


Inspired by a growing body of research into the benefits of nature on elders’ wellbeing, Presbyterian Support Central has focused its latest Wellbeing appeal on securing elders’ access to all of nature’s gifts – redefining the garden spaces and outdoor areas at Enliven homes.

“Gardens are a great way to enjoy the outdoors and stimulate the senses,” says Enliven’s General Manager, Nicola Turner.

“We want all of the elders at our homes to be able to stop to smell and touch flowers whenever they want, to have the opportunity to grow seasonal fruits and vegetables, and to connect with others who share a love of the outdoors and gardening.”

She notes that many residents had to leave behind lovingly-tended gardens in order to move in to their new home.

“For those residents, it’s important to make sure that they are able to continue to have that pleasure in their lives.”

By making a donation to Enliven’s garden project, you’re supporting the health and wellbeing of elders in your community.

As a means of self-expression and social connection, gardening has been shown to be beneficial to elders’ mental health, while also slowing cognitive decline. This fits well with Enliven’s philosophy, based on the elder-centred Eden Alternative and Spark of Life models of care, which value companionship, meaningful activity, independence, choice, spontaneity and creativity.

Gentle gardening has also been shown to improve elders’ physical health, reducing the risk of falls and related accidents. Equally, the simple act of pottering about in a vegetable patch or sitting in quiet contemplation under the trees can restore a sense of calm and inner peace.

Presbyterian Support Central’s General Manager, External Relations Alisha Kennedy says the gardens developed with funds from the Wellbeing appeal will be fit-for-purpose, designed with the needs of elders at the forefront.

“Donations to the Wellbeing appeal will initially support the development of specialist sensory garden landscape plans.”

Alisha says Enliven will then look for other philanthropic funding and the support of local businesses, communities and volunteers to develop the gardens.

Gardens that fit with the needs and wants of Enliven elders.

Kandahar Home in Masterton has plans to install raised picking gardens, smooth pathways and a mobility-friendly seating area near the home’s hospital entrance. These improvements will ensure residents’ easy access to the gardens by providing clear pathways and empowering those in wheelchairs, beds or walkers to make use of the area.

“We’re determined to make sure no resident is denied the joy of wandering around our gardens due to access issues,” says manager Peter Newman.

He says great garden spaces and outdoor environments are equally important at sister-site Kandahar Court, a specialist dementia home.

“Striking outdoor spaces, like gardens, can help people with dementia to orientate themselves spatially, keep track of the time of day, things like that. They are also great for stimulating the senses of sight, smell and touch, which is really beneficial for people with dementia.”

Spices, herbs, fruits and vegetables will be features of many of Enliven’s redeveloped gardens. At Willard Home in Palmerston North, plans for a market garden will connect residents with the wider community, who will be invited to volunteer, chat with residents, and buy some of the produce. The proceeds will then be used to buy seeds and make the garden self-sustaining.

“It’s about making the garden a real community hub so that residents feel connected and engaged with those around them,” says Willard Home manager Christine Tester.

“It doesn’t hurt that we’ll get fresh produce such as potatoes and strawberries out of it too.”

In-line with Enliven’s elder-centred philosophy, all plans will be drawn up in consultation with residents, families and staff.

“It’s about what the elders want, not what we want,” says Northern regional manager Alison Russell.

She cites the example of Whanganui’s Kowhainui Home where residents have made it clear they want more from the site’s expansive outdoor spaces.

“Funding from the MacAuley Trust has kickstarted the project with the building of some great new pagodas,” says Alison.

“Soon we’ll be turning to the residents, their families and staff to ask ‘what next?’ and to listen to their ideas about the garden spaces and how they want to use them. From there we’ll put together some plans, and look for philanthropic funding and volunteers to support the project.”

Whether one’s pleasure is smelling flowers, cultivating vegetables or contemplating nature’s beauty, gardens offer restorative and therapeutic benefits which are hard to rival. With your support, Enliven is ensuring that elders at all of our homes have access to all of these meaningful delights.

To make a donation to Enliven’s garden project; free call 0508 TO HELP or make an online donation by clicking the link below.

Donate online

Make a secure donation online using your credit card. You can make one-off or regular monthly donation.

Donate over the phone

Call us on 0508 TO HELP (0508 864 357) to find out more, to make a donation over the phone or to discuss a fundraising idea.

Donate by cheque 

If you would like to pay your membership by cheque, please contact us on 0508 TO HELP to request a copy of PSC’s membership form. Once complete, send the form and cheque to Presbyterian Support Central, Membership, PO Box 12706, Wellington 6144.

Fundraise for us 

If you or your group would like to support Enliven’s garden project by holding a fundraiser for us, call us on 0508 TO HELP to discuss your idea. You can also click here for ideas and inspiration.