We work in the Knutsford area, maintaining the gardens of the elderly & infirm who cannot pay to have their gardens tended. Referrals to us often come via Housing Associations or social services. To undertake our work, we use 2 paid co-ordinators, who are both gardening experts, and who supervise teams of volunteers. We aim for 2/3 of our volunteers to be drawn partly from local specialist schools for those with special educational needs, and partly from those whose health precludes full time employment, but nevertheless can contribute to our work. We believe it's an enriching experience for both groups. For our garden owners (beneficiaries), they have their garden maintained so that they're able to use it as outdoor space, and many also appreciate the social contact with our volunteer teams. For our volunteers, we aim for the experience to be both rewarding in itself, and potentially a pathway to other volunteering or even employment opportunities.
What we'll deliver:
Why it's a great idea:
These are outlined in the project description, but in more detail: - for beneficiaries (garden owners): pleasanter, cared-for gardens they can enjoy and use for limited outdoor exercise, when otherwise they might not be able to; for many, social outreach and befriending is part of what we do - some report that GROW can sometimes be their only social contact in a given week. - for our volunteers we provide a sense of achievement and, we believe, enjoyment. We foster teamwork and help develop basic gardening skills. The lead-on benefit for those with special needs is that it provides a stepping stone to further, possibly more complex, volunteering opportunities, with the ultimate goal of integrating them into the community as far as possible.
Steps to get it done:
By bringing together two distinct groups of disadvantaged people for their mutual benefit, we believe we provide an unusual service of real value to the local community.
About the space
Cheshire East Council