A garden makeover scheme is ending the year having helped improve the lives of ten people affected by cancer.

Despite being launched on April 1 this year, the project between Macmillan Cancer Support, Volunteer Cornwall and Cornwall Council was no April Fool.

It has seen the council’s employee volunteering scheme recruit volunteers to provide a home and garden makeover service for people living with or affected by cancer, with Macmillan investing £20,000 to fund the project.

As 2013 draws to a close, the project has to date completed ten makeovers, with two more planned in Looe and St Agnes.

The scheme was developed to provide practical and timely support for people struggling to maintain their gardens, or keep their homes in reasonable condition as a result of living with cancer.

Referrals have been taken from local community and hospital based nurses and other support workers.

Makeovers completed to date have included painting an exterior wall and decking, and cutting the grass for a lady in St Austell whose husband died of cancer. The garden was his pride and joy and before his illness was very well maintained. The task required three visits to ensure the tasks were completed.

Irene Kemp from Redruth was also struggling with her garden. She wrote: “I am a very keen gardener and have previously won prizes. Sadly seven years ago I had breast cancer and though I could not do the garden, my husband did it for me and we won a prize.

“Since then I have been in good health. We moved back to Redruth 15 months ago and tackled our garden, we have a fruit area, lawn and flower beds and a what was a lovely vegetable patch. Sadly I have been re-diagnosed with breast cancer in the other breast, so gardening is not an option for me now, and my husband is unable to help. I would welcome any help to make it more manageable, like grassing the vegetable area.”

Three volunteers spent the day weeding and then digging over the vegetable patch to get it ready for seeding and both Irene and her husband were delighted with the help received.

Another makeover, in Penzance, involved two volunteers clearing the courtyard and downstairs toilet area for a lady who, due to the affects of her cancer, was unable to access her facilities upstairs. The courtyard was cleared and scrubbed and the toilet cleaned of mould and repainted.

Project officer Martin Webb said: “It’s great to provide practical support and assistance to people affected by cancer that makes a real difference; it can be distressing for people when they are unable to maintain their home or garden as they once could, and this project has helped to provide this support when they need it most.”

For more information about the project contact Martin directly at Volunteer Cornwall on 01872 266991 or 07595 202410, or email MartinW@volunteercornwall.org.uk.

Macmillan is able to fund projects like these because of people who give their time or help to raise funds for the charity. To find out more about making a donation call Macmillan on 0300 1000 200.

Falmouth Packet:

Irene Kemp's garden before the makeover.