As you know, the SMILE arm of HCPA is continually looking for funding to enable us to give members the benefit of funded classes, so we thought we would share with you this latest grant and how we are spending it.

If you would like to benefit from SMILE classes then please email


Flowers, fruit and vegetables are helping to forge links between care home residents and local communities across north and east Hertfordshire in a project funded by Tesco.

Caring Gardens is a joint initiative between HCPA and East and North Hertfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group and is part of a programme which is working to provide better care for frail, elderly care home residents.

Funding to the tune of £10,000 for the 12-week project came from Tesco Bags of Help initiative – which supports local projects from the 5p charge for plastic carrier bags. It is aimed at not only brightening up the environment of local care homes, but also boosting the health and wellbeing of elderly residents.

HCPA’s SMILE team is co-ordinating Caring Gardens in five homes:

  • The Hollies, Shawlmist Ltd, Broxbourne
  • The White House, Medical Resources Worldwide Ltd, Letchworth
  • Martins House, Gold Care Management Services, Stevenage
  • Bentley House, Signature Senior Lifestyle, Hertford
  • St Audrey’s, Heritage Care, Hatfield

The SMILE team helps residents decide what they want to see in their gardens and then local volunteers help residents plant up flower/vegetable beds, create hanging baskets and garden art, such as mosaics.

We have already carried out similar projects in Watford and Dacorum, proving that elderly residents who get involved in gardening improve their confidence and social interaction.

Sharon Davies, CEO of HCPA, said: “We know SMILE’s therapeutic horticulture sessions are popular and well received in care homes across Hertfordshire and we are always looking for ways to fund these types of projects which really provide meaningful engagement for the residents.”

The scheme was launched this week at The Hollies, Broxbourne with residents deciding they wanted to see raised beds, hanging baskets and a hedgehog house in their garden.

Volunteers from Hertfordshire County Council’s Learning Disabilities Day Centre in Brocket Road, Hoddesdon will be helping in the garden.