NEW friendships grew when college students volunteered to help makeover the garden of a sheltered housing scheme.

Level Three horticulturalist students from Kingston Maurward worked all day through ‘terrible weather’ to cut hedges, take down trees and do general gardening work at Southfield House in Dorchester.

Care home manager Maria Guy said the 11 students, who ranged in age from 17 to 47, were ‘stars’.

She said: “All of the residents came down to meet them, and some made cakes and provided lunch to say thank you. They did really well, and carried on working in the rain.”

It is the first time such a partnership has taken place, she said.

She added: “We wanted to do something to mark Older People’s Day, and to help our residents, who are all over 80, to become more involved in the community.

“We have a gardening club, but a lot of the work is a bit heavy for them, so it’s great that the students were able to help. All of our rooms look down onto the gardens, and those who are able like to go and sit down there, or walk around. It’s really special to them.”

Mrs Guy added: “They were really very pleasant and the residents were just bowled over.”

The project was supported by JD Wetherspoon, who provided cups, and West Dorset District Council project Streetscene. Course tutor and lecturer Alan Jacobsen said he hopes the project will be repeated.

He said: “The students loved it. I don’t think I’ve ever seen them work so hard, and they loved the cakes that the residents made for us.

“I’m very proud of them.”

He added: “We really enjoyed it, and hopefully we made a difference to the gardens, because I know the older folk get a lot of pleasure out of them.”