Holding: Build a Jeu de Boules court for elderly and nursery home

Early spring 2017, the Barenbrug Holding employees engaged in their second Helping with Hands (HwH) project. The participants were Simone, Wei, Robert, Marty, René, John, Bas, Frank. This year we decided to build a Jeu de Boules court for Elderly and nursery home St Jozef in Lent not far from our head office in Nijmegen (NL). Our job was going to be to measure the Jeu de Boules court, mark it with the stones, fill it up with the different layers of sand, level and tamp it.

A challenging and tough job

We checked the site a few weeks before our activity. It was clear that it would be a challenging and tough job to do this in one day. Especially because in front of the court they would like to have a terrace where the elderly could sit meanwhile the others are playing the game. Or just for a short break for the players themselves.


We arranged 20 big bags with various kinds of sand. Drainage sand, fill up sand and top layer sand. Besides that, we bought (very heavy) stones to mark the court. We arranged working equipment from Barenbrug Research like shovels, rakes and wheelbarrows.


We arrived at 8 o’ clock in the morning and first were welcomed with coffee. It promised to be a beautiful day with nice temperature and sunshine. After we started to work many elderly people came by to have a look and a short talk. They were mainly impressed with the hard workers and were sorry for us. It was great to see them interested in what was going on and they really supported us in keep on moving. John brought his little John Deere tractor to move the sand that was taken out to make the court. Unfortunately, the little tractor was too light to bring the big bags on the spot, so that left us with no other choice than to bring the sand in per wheelbarrow...


All hands on deck

The responsible person for the gardens gave us some direction and helped us measuring the court. Also, a voluntary worker of 68 years came in to help us with moving wheelbarrows full of sand the whole morning. There was a great team spirit and it was clear that the only way we could finish it the same day, was by working together efficiently. Everyone worked very hard to make this happen!


In the meantime, the team was supported by the employees of St. Jozef with coffee and cookies and a great sandwich lunch with soup, lemonade and lots of fresh water as the sun became quite hot. After lunch, everybody was somehow recovered from the morning to start again with full spirit in the afternoon. Still quite some work had to be done. We also got some unexpected support, as Yvette, who is on sick leave, also passed by to bring us some chocolates. 


Some stones that needed to be put in the corner, needed to be cut and Ingeborg Barenbrug (Bastiaan’s wife) brought the diamond grinder that enabled us to cut these heavy stones. Of course, with all the safety rules in mind, Bastiaan, with earplugs and glasses, cut these stones perfectly.

Ready for use!

At 9 o’clock in the evening, when it was already dark, we finished our work. The court was beautiful and finished. One part of the terrace we were not able to terminate, but this was going to be finished by the employees of St. Jozef. They were very grateful for the challenging work the Helping with Hands team has been done that day. An official opening of the court with a glass of champagne has taken place. We gave St. Jozef a bag of Barenbrug grass seed for some new sowing around the court and a double set of Jeu de Boule balls for playing. To finish it up we gave them a nice corner seat for the elderly people to sit and watch the game.


 The court has been built in such a quality, that we will be able to make use of it when we are part of the elderly people ourselves.


We all were very tired but very satisfied. The next morning everybody was complaining about sour and stiff muscles and René even came in a bit late as he was still not completely recovered and had a slow start-up the morning after.


This HwH project was again a remarkable success and we know that the court has been built in such a way and of such a high quality, that we will be able to make use of it when we are part of the elderly people ourselves. We hope all the people of St Jozef and in the neighbourhood of Lent will enjoy as much the new Jeu de Boules court as we have enjoyed building it!

About St. Jozef elderly and nursery home

St. Jozef is situated in Lent, not far from our head office in Nijmegen. It is part of the Rijn-Waal Zorg group, supporting elderly people to continue to have a as much as possible healthy and independent life as long as possible. This group has 600 workers, of which a high number are volunteers. They give the people the necessary support and attention when needed.


St. Jozef is situated in the old part of the village Lent in a quiet, green, safe and beautiful environment with many trees and flowers. The main building used to be an old monastery that has been completely renovated and adapted to the needs of the elderly people.


For more information, click here