Published date: 02 March 2022

Making a difference with Talke community garden

Talke, Midlands


Talke Health Clinic is an under resourced area and mental health struggles and loneliness are common themes amongst community.

The Patient Participation Group (PPG) at Talke Health Clinic saw the site as somewhere that could be used to make a difference within the community, giving them a safe space to come to.

As part of this drive, a committee member of the patient participation group, Ernie, set up a group called ‘people and places’ to help people in communities get outdoors.

Ernie invited one of NHS Property Services' Property Managers, to join a meeting about the Talke Health Centre garden area. Ernie asked if he could replace bushes and shrubbery with soft fruit trees to make it a place for families to come and pick their own fruit, and other staff mentioned creating food packages for the community.

Amy recognised the potential of this scheme to make a significant difference to the local community and the criteria fit with our Social Prescribing programme, led by our Corporate Social Responsibility team whereby NHSPS transforms underused or vacant indoor and outdoor space for community wellbeing. 


NHS Property Services, Ernie and the PPG and Talk Health Clinic discussed ideas for the space and with the help of Groundwork UK, the project started to take shape.

Ernie and Amy wanted to incorporate NHSPS colleagues and members of the ‘people and places’ team to help with the project. Due to COVID-19 and social distancing restrictions there was some difficulty with this, but with the help of keen colleagues and teammates, this was resolved and people were able to help create the beautiful garden.


The new garden brings the community together, giving them a safe, fit for purpose space to enjoy the outdoors.

The impact of COVID-19 has given greater importance to this project as space to improve the communities' mental health and combatting loneliness has become increasingly important for the local area.

The garden allows for the ‘people and places’ group to extend their offering and help to reduce feelings of isolation amongst the people of Talke.

What our customers said

Ernie, patient participation group committee member and organiser of ‘people and places’ said:

“There are a lot of isolated people in Talke, and we just want to make them feel as though there is somewhere for them to come to.”

What our people said

Amy Adams, Property Manager at NHSPS said:

“When I was invited to a patient participation group by Ernie to discuss if we could help with drawings for a project they wanted to complete at the centre and how much this would affect the local area I was determined to make this part of NHSPS corporate social responsibility social prescribing programme and get my wellies at the ready! With meetings, business cases, emails, calls, lots of pictures of plants and screws, and a little pandemic in between, thanks to the contractors, Groundwork UK and our amazing volunteers, we were able to make it happen. I would like to thank Dave Carding bulb digging extraordinaire, Liz Turner power tool expert, Tania Compton Queen of landscaping creativeness, Louise Tunstall soil expert and all-rounder, Hannah Yeomans wheel barrow extremist and of course Ernie Green, the innovator of the whole project. It’s amazing to see the hard work has paid off and will do for so many people in the community.”

Andrew Strange, Regional Partnership director (Midlands) at NHSPS said:

“This is a fantastic example of our team engaging with and supporting the community and healthcare providers to make the best use of our properties. This scheme will help the site deliver wider benefits to the community. Great work by Ernie, Amy and the local and NHS Property Services’ community.”