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Chelsea Flower Show - 'Places of Change Garden'.


Places of Change LogoCyrenians Employment and Training (CET) is over the moon following the silver medal awarded to the “Places of Change Garden” at the RHS Chelsea Flower show this week.

CET and its service users in Swansea were part of the biggest Show Garden ever at the Chelsea Flower Show. Some of the members of the Cyrenians Community Centre as well as some staff spent many months of hard work getting seeds planted in a large plastic bottle green house built on site by service users and volunteers. As well as the Community Centre’s involvement in the Garden the Charity’s Res a Rec Recycling and Reuse scheme created huge wooden “spines” which played an important role in the Garden.

CET was the only organisation in Wales to be asked to take part in the “Places of Change Garden” CET and its service were involved at the various stages of the garden’s development; from planting, gardening, construction, and carpentry playing a vital role in the garden’s creation – which overall identified roles for around 320 service users from other charities across the UK. As a result of getting involved, participants developed new skills which will enable them to move onto further training and qualifications, and in the long term, turn their lives around.

Staff and Clients at Chelsea Flower ShowThe “Places of Change Garden” project is a major collaboration between several key partners: national housing and regeneration delivery body the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), national membership charity for homeless agencies Homeless Link, the Eden Project, and Communities and Local Government (CLG). Designed by Eden’s award-winning garden designer Paul Stone, the garden was funded by CLG and the HCA’s Places of Change programme – an £80m capital funding programme that aims to bring about a change in the way homeless services are perceived and challenge stereotypes around homelessness.

It follows on from the success of last year’s Key Garden, which saw over 200 homeless service users create another Silver Medal award-winning show garden, many of whom have now gone on to further the skills they gained via further training or jobs placement. Participants involved consistently reported a huge confidence boost, new skills, and renewed hope for their future.

CET Places of Change Garden Coordinator Clare Evans Says:

“This is has been such a wonderful opportunity for us as a charity to work with other charities across the UK in creating something so unique but incredibly beneficial to so many people. The team of volunteers that we have, made up of a number of our service users has been fantastic they have been dedicated to every aspect of this project since the moment we were invited to be involved. It really is great to see them get such enjoyment and a feeling of accomplishment through their participation and to cap it all off with a Silver Medal award is just the icing on the cake.”

Two volunteers in the “Places of Change Garden” from the Cyrenians Community Centre, Ceri Keating and Roger Hannibal have relished every aspect of their involvement in the project.

Ceri Keating says:

“The project has been an exciting opportunity that I would not normally have. I enjoyed nurturing the plants and found that the project took my mind off my everyday life”.


Roger Hannibal is a long term volunteer at the Community Centre tending to the maintenance of the grounds outside the Centre and he too enjoyed his involvement in the Places of Change Garden.

Roger Says:

“It touched my heart to be asked to take part in the project and I can’t believe it!”

Cyrenians Employment and Training is funded by the Welsh European Social Fund and is a subsidiary of Cyrenians Cymru Charity.

For more information

Please contact Kimberley Nutbrown.