Community; customers

Platform installs 'happy to chat’ bench in communal garden

1 September 2023
2 mins

Above: l to r, Matthew Stock, Grounds Maintenance Delivery Manager, Platform Housing Group; Helen Bowden, Director, Orphans Press and Maggie Waldman, author of A Friend in Deed

Platform Housing Group and Stonewater Ltd teamed up with Orphans Press to create a ‘happy to chat’ bench within the communal garden at Newman House in Leominster as well as tidying up the area to provide a better environment and peaceful retreat for the residents to enjoy.

The initiative came about as part of a 150th birthday celebration; Orphans Press – a print, publishing, design and web agency based in the town – was established in 1873 to support the Leominster Orphan Homes, founded in 1869 and located at Newman House until its closure in 1951.  The home housed 18 destitute children from industrialised parts of the country who had been orphaned.  Henry Stanley Newman – founder of the Leominster Orphan Homes and Orphans Press – was determined to make sure that the children felt at home there, providing access to education, training and religious teachings.

The event also included the planting of a ceremonial apple tree.

Helen Bowden, Director at Orphans Press explained: “We discovered that there used to be an orchard in the garden at Newman House where the children used to pick apples.  We decided to commemorate Henry Stanley Newman by planting an apple tree where the orchard used to be.”

Newman House is run by Stonewater Ltd; since March 2022, Platform Housing Group has been undertaking repairs on Stonewater homes in the Herefordshire area.

Matthew Stock, Grounds Maintenance Delivery Manager at Platform Housing Group said : “We were absolutely delighted to be approached by Orphans Press to undertake such a fabulous project on behalf of Stonewater.  The history behind the home is fascinating and being involved with it has really brought it all to life.  We hope the residents of Newman House will enjoy their new bench amidst the beautiful grounds.”

Helen Holland, Connected Communities Peer Leader, Neighbourhoods, at Stonewater, said: “We’re so thrilled that Stonewater can be part of such a positive and essential initiative.  We understand how necessary it can be for people to be able to chat to others, especially given the difficulties we’ve all faced over the last few years.  We’re glad to be able to help strengthen the sense of community among new and future residents.”

Helen Bowden concluded : “Newman House is such an important part of the history of both Orphans Press and Leominster.  We felt it was important to do something really special for our 150th birthday and collaborating with Platform and Stonewater to transform the grounds at Newman House was the perfect way to commemorate Henry Newman and give back to the residents.”