Rosemary and Time CIC was set up by Donna Rowe-Green in 2018 and started operating in spring of 2019. Donna had been working as a horticultural therapist alongside people living with dementia as part of a different project she had been running. Having previously established another social enterprise that ran for 6 years, she felt there was a lot more work to be done to bring the benefits of gardening to that group.
“I like social enterprise as it has that wonderful balance of supporting people while trying to earn income to deliver that service at the same time. I was blessed to study at the School of Social Entrepreneurs in Liverpool and learned a huge amount from them and my peers on the course.” Donna Rowe-Green
Pre-Covid, Donna would take gardening materials into care homes, dementia cafés, day centres, and other social groups. She would deliver a friendly, relaxed workshop where groups of older people could make up a hanging basket, a pot of herbs, or a bird feeder and take home what they’d created. It provided a great chance for the carers that supported the people living with dementia to get stuck in alongside their loved one and become a husband, wife, daughter or son again, rather than a carer.
Coping with Covid
The pandemic has forced Donna to think laterally in terms of finding alternatives to face-to-face activities. So, with the help of Solopress, Donna produced a gardening reminiscence pack with a scrapbook and A5 Postcards – a garden picture on one side and a gardening question on the back such as ‘How did you help in the garden as a child?’ or ‘How has gardening changed over the years?’
This was sent out to both care homes and individuals and their carers isolated at home so that they had something they could engage in remotely. The packs are ideal for involving other family members and provide a welcome distraction from Covid.
Getting kitted out
Pre-Covid, Rosemary and Time had a full schedule of training courses planned that would have raised a significant income, as well events in the diary where they planned to sell pollinator-friendly plants. Instead, Donna branched out into delivering plants and gardening materials during lockdown.
Following the success of the reminiscence packs, Donna secured funding to create some free kits to help people carry on gardening while growing a little older or living with dementia. The kits include adapted tools, some bulbs, and large seeds, along with a printed booklet that presents gardening tips in an informal, chatty style.
The upside of the disruption caused by Covid was that this new revenue stream helped Rosemary and Time to extend their service. In addition to the free kits for those affected by dementia, Donna was able to set up a profitable plant delivery service for the public using the seedlings and plug plants that were already on hand. The revenue raised from sales is fed back into Rosemary and Time. It’s a service that Donna intends to continue into next year and beyond.
Prior to introducing the plant delivery service, existing grant funding helped the enterprise to reach 120 people with the reminiscence project. With the extra revenue from deliveries, Donna ended up sending out over 350 packs reaching over 500 individuals!
Donna has been using Solopress for her various projects for the past 7 years. Because she doesn’t consider herself an expert with graphic design, running her artwork past Solopress gives Donna the reassurance she needs.
“I simply put together my documents on Publisher, save as a pdf, and then I’m able to get them printed by Solopress without any fuss. This gives me the confidence to produce everything myself, knowing Solopress will print a professional document for me.” Donna Rowe-Green
Solopress has been involved in printing information Leaflets and Postcards for the reminiscence project as well as the ‘Gardening with Dementia’ Booklets. Printed material allows Donna to communicate with a generation that are not all necessarily comfortable with a digital medium. Working with Solopress has brought some key benefits where print is concerned:
“Solopress offers immense value for money, which is vital to us. They deliver reliably and swiftly, and have everything I need in the range. I love that I can go online out of office hours, play around with size, quantity, and product, and the price is there on the screen – no ‘apply for a quote’. It makes that bit of my job so much easier.” Donna Rowe-Green
Pressing on with print
The next step for Donna is to work with Solopress to create a regular newsletter including input from those that Rosemary and Time has helped over the last few months. The newsletter will allow readers to feel part of a gardening group alongside people who face similar challenges. We’re also exploring bespoke envelopes for Rosemary and Time’s mail-outs that will be printed with info about the seeds they contain.
If you’d like to know more about Rosemary and Time, or think you might be able to make a contribution, either through volunteering your skills or making a donation, why not visit the Rosemary and Time website or search Rosemary and Time on Facebook, for great ways to follow and support this worthwhile enterprise.