Daniel and David’s story by Glenice Lake

October 9, 2020

For the past few years Golden Lane Housing has celebrated different cultures.

This year, two of our tenants Daniel and David and their mother, Glenice asked if we could celebrate Black History Month and share their traditional Caribbean recipe.

Glenice and her sons enjoy the outside life. The dream of growing fruit and vegetables along with having fresh the eggs from the chickens has become a reality. Glenice explains while they are enjoying the fresh food, they are turning their attention to making this profitable.

“The idea of setting up the enterprise scheme for Daniel and David began with their love for being outdoors and food. This year with Covid 19 we donated many of our plants to charities to raise funds one being Invisible Palace one of the aims I liked was to support those with additional needs to participate like planting up flower beds. They raised £70 this year from our donation.

My sons are autistic and like having a structured day. They live in a lovely bungalow with a big back garden and a park opposite, and they’re always out and about. I wanted something that we could do together socially, that was outside and part of the house activity. Being outside is calming, relaxing and good for your health.

Many years ago, Daniel and David won a Golden Lane Housing competition. With the money they bought the chicken coup and got some rescue chickens – and that was the start!

The coup is in the garage so they are safe from foxes and we’ve built a big pen that they can run around freely during the day. David was selling the produce through the college he was attending until he finished.

Lockdown has brought a real focus on what to grow. We began arranging the back garden so we could grow fruit and vegetables. Now they’ve got a few mini green houses, some raised beds and use tubs.

Everything is grown from seed. Daniel and David each have seedling trays that they put on their window sills and know when they’re big enough to go into pots. Then sit in the green house until they are ready to plant outside when the risk of frost has passed.

It’s been an incredible year with plenty of sweetcorn, pumpkin, broccoli, aubergine, peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, rainbow carrots, squash, red and green kale, red and white onions, cucumbers, black currents, beans and courgettes to name a few!

As well as eating this amazing fresh food, plants or produce has been to neighbours and friends. Selling produce is a hard market to get into. We wanted to see what and how much could be grown and find out what the interest is so we could progress with the enterprise scheme. Next year, there’s going to be a herb garden too. This year we donated to a charity called Invisible Palace who made £70 from our donations of vegetables and plants.

There have been so many memorable moments. Seeing my sons happily working in the garden together. Another special moment was when I was working out how to protect my sweet corn from the squirrels. David had been watching me. He came over, looked at me, and then kissed me on the cheek – he was empowering me to find the solution. I almost shed a tear of joy. I found the solution that is why we had corn this year and not Mr squirrel!

Every Sunday, we come together as a family and share our traditional food. One of our staple dishes is macaroni cheese – in Barbados it’s called macaroni pie or affectionately just pie as it used to be cooked in a pie tin.

For Daniel and David, the Sunday dinner the table can be groaning with food but without the magical pie, something is missing.

Without the right support from Phoenix Bespoke Support this would not happen as staff really engaged with their activity and recognised the importance of watering, slug prevention, weeding and the best job of all harvesting life would be pretty miserable for my sons.

My boys are living their best life! I can’t praise Golden Lane Housing enough. David and Daniel’s dream of setting up an enterprise scheme has become a reality. I don’t know of any other another housing provider that would let them turn their back garden into a place where they can grow fruit and vegetables along with having fresh the eggs from the chickens. All proceeds raised are being donated to charities.

The right place, the right support at the right time can truly make a difference in the life of a family. Helping them remain connected.”

Tenant cooking competition (only open to Golden Lane Housing tenants)

Golden Lane Housing tenants can take part in our cooking competition to make Daniel and David’s 5 cheese macaroni pie. Download the recipe and find out how to take part.