Quarr Abbey Copyright: David Evison

Southern Housing Group is celebrating after a community initiative has transformed a space at Quarr Abbey -resulting in the group being given a second gardening plot.

It’s all part of a community initiative called Muddy Boots which, since its launch in 2011, has transformed the space at the Abbey and the lives of the volunteers.

The original plot was completely overgrown with brambles and weeds, but Southern Housing Group residents – in particular, those requiring full-time care – regularly gave up their time to transform the garden into the beautiful space that you can see today.

Growing everything from tomatoes and onions to pumpkins and cucamelons the green-fingered volunteers help supply products in the Abbey and Tea Shop kitchens and sell them in shops across the Island.

Following the last successes, the group have now been asked to open another plot and joined Father Xavier to formally open it at a ceremony.


Southern Housing Group has now partnered with No Barriers; a charity which empowers adults with disabilities to achieve their goals -to enable more people to take part in the project.

DW Support Services, who provide responsive repairs for Southern Housing Group’s properties on the Isle of Wight – agreed to work with a landscaping firm to pay for the new paths -to ensure that residents with restricted mobility can safely get around the garden.

Mark Meredith, Southern Housing Group Community Partnerships and Projects Manager
South said,

“Muddy Boots began in response to cuts which affected Learning Disability Day
Services. I was tasked with finding a project for our residents to get involved in as an
alternative to daycare services. I had heard that Quarr Abbey was looking for community
organisations to approach them with ideas and that’s where it all began.”

Andrew Broadbent, from DW Support Services, said,

“Muddy Boots is a fantastic example of a community coming together and we are delighted to be able to support this project. It was a pleasure to work and support Southern Housing Group and the Abbey.”