Chelsea success for Sir Simon Milton Foundation

The growing issue of elderly isolation was brought to the fore at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show, through a ‘Fresh’ garden seeking to address loneliness amongst our older people.

The Victoria Business Improvement District (BID) teamed up with the Sir Simon Milton Foundation to create a garden that showcased the role that high quality public spaces play in bringing communities and generations together.

Purple flowers in bloom in the garden

There is a wealth of research pointing towards the effect isolation can have on both the mental and physical health of the over-65’s and, with the population of people aged over 80 expected to treble in the next 20 years, the issue has never been of more importance.

Award-winning garden design duo Lee Bestall and Paul Robinson were the brains behind this ‘Fresh Garden’ entry, entitled ‘Urban Connections’. Their innovative design created new green spaces in an urban environment where people can meet and socialise.

Following the Flower Show, the garden has been relocated to the streets of Victoria, creating new small public gardens – ‘Parklets’ – for residents, workers and visitors alike to enjoy.

Cllr Robert Davis MBE DL, co-founder of the Sir Simon Milton Foundation and Deputy Leader of Westminster City Council, said at the Show:

“This garden is an extremely poignant reflection of Simon’s belief in the amazing contribution that our older generations make to life in our cities. One of the Foundation’s priorities is to help older people thrive in the heart of London and anything we can do to highlight the blight of isolation and to identify solutions, either by offering opportunities through Silver Sunday activities or our annual tea dance, to providing new spaces for people to meet, is a fitting tribute and one he would have supported wholeheartedly. As ever I am humbled by all that is being achieved in Simon’s name and I look forward to many people enjoying the garden at Chelsea. Just as importantly though, I am truly excited to see different generations coming together to enjoy the spaces in Victoria once the show is over.”

All images ©RHS