It was a beautiful summers day last year which saw the unveiling of amazing makeover of this community garden in Thornton Heath from an urban wasteland to oasis.

The Chronicle has been waiting since last September to publish the pictures of the transformation of the overgrown, inaccessible and unsafe garden space that wraps around Scratchely Hall at Age UK Croydon premises on Brigstock Road.

The happiness is shown in the faces of the elderly users featured in these pictures and will act as a reminder of happier times.

Alan Titchmarsh’s TV programme Love Your Garden was  screened  on (Tuesday March 17) as we woke up to news about the Coronavirus and the need for the vulnerable; especially elderly people to self isolate from this deadly virus.

The programme featured stories of elderly people from Thornton Heath talking about feeling isolated and unsafe but how they had benefited from the services provided by Age UK Croydon.

Now Age UK Croydon is stepping up to deal with one of the worst crisis it is likely to face in its history.

It has been setting up a food and essentials hub to help the elderly community at 81 Brigstock Road which opens from 10am to 4pm with volunteers delivering goods to local older people or help in other ways.

It will now be some time before the garden which was created by the help of the Love Your Garden team along with many local volunteers and tradespeople will be able to be used again.

Age UK Croydon has big plans to maximise the benefits of the outdoor space, including growing herbs and vegetables to use in a community kitchen, opening a Men in Sheds project to make bird boxes in the tool shed and involving local primary schools to open bug hotels.

Jill Kyne, Age UK Croydon CEO said: “What an absolutely amazing opportunity and honour for us to have our garden overhauled by one of the best-known professionals in the gardening world.  The space is going to benefit so many people – those that join us for regular activities, our volunteers, staff and the wider community.  As we move into the summer months, we’ll be working with people and organisations across the borough to make the most of our amazing space.”

When circumstances allow, Age UK Croydon will be running a series of activities, events and parties so that local people can come back together and have the chance to see and use the garden. To be included or  if you are a community group that would like to use the space email: To donate or volunteer ring: 0208686 0066.