Castlecaulfield Horticultural Society during COVID 19

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Castlecaulfield Horticultural Society during COVID -19

Castlecaufield Horticultural Society are more well known for hosting their popular annual horticultural show, running the walled garden, and their lively street planting which makes the village such a lovely place to visit. In recent weeks (March 2020) regular activities have been put on hold, but this doesn’t mean the group have been taking it easy, quite the opposite…

Bob McClure from Castlecaufield Horticultural society spoke to us on how his community is adapting to the current situation.

“We’ve formed a group of the two local villages, Castlecaufield, Donaghmore and the townland of with representatives from each community group, and we are coordinating volunteers, who are able to fetch shopping and prescriptions, or just check in on someone by phone. When someone needs something we are able to text to a whatsapp group of local volunteers, and whoever can helps goes and does it. It is working well.

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We did a leaflet drop to get contact numbers, and got a great response. There are our usual volunteers, of course, this work is second nature to us, we just had to divert what we were doing. But as well other people are coming out of the woodwork. I think all over Bloom groups are mobilising, and this has happened before, like during the floods in England.

We have closed the communal growing areas in the walled garden, but the allotments are still going, with people keeping a safe distance from each other, we have a poster with guidelines for handwashing etc. All the Bloom competitions are cancelled so our big polytunnels that were used for flowers are now being used to grow veg. Three or four core people are coordinating it, people who are out of work and need something else to focus on. They have sourced plug plants from a local garden centre, so we aren’t starting everything from seed.

There have been some challenges, for example core members of the group going into self-isolation. But there are other people coming up who can fill the strategic roles of the people who have to stay at home, so in a way that’s really positive. And even from home you can make phonecalls. For example I was speaking to a guy yesterday, he has been self isolating for over a week and is getting a bit cabin feverish, and also anxious from watching the news a lot. I said maybe he could watch less news and have a look at some of the videos on our facebook for gardening at home tips. A young local lad Gearoid has started making tips and tricks videos for how to garden at home if you don’t have a garden. For example all these toilet roll tubes can be made into plant pots! Or using food containers for seed trays, that sort of thing. It’s a bit tongue in cheek too… So it’s good to just focus on what you can do."

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