Transforming gardens, transforming lives.
Blackpool is a popular seaside resort with a bustling hotel and entertainment industry. But during lockdown, amongst many other seaside towns relying on tourists and visitors, it has been hard hit and many of it’s key industries have experienced hard times.
During the first couple of weeks of lockdown, a local community centre in the heart of one of the largest council estates in Blackpool, called ‘The Grange’, because a Coronavirus Hub to help coordinate the delivery of food parcels, medicines and essential supplies to those most vulnerable and at risk in this estate.
Our ROC Garden tricycles (normally used to transport gardening equipment for our volunteer garden transformations), became food parcel delivery vehicles! These helped to speed up the delivery of parcels going out all over the estate, and put a smile on a lot of faces of locals who saw them being used.
After the 7th week of lockdown, our ROC Garden Services team were able to restart and set back to work supporting many of our regular residents with their garden maintenance.
We learned to adapt well to the change in times, and a number of our volunteers were able to support many of our staff providing these regular services for the public, providing new and improved 1-on-1 training opportunities to boost their skills and confidence to help them towards employment. Within a month, 3 of these volunteers are ready to move into employment, and we are so proud of them and for the potential in their future.
Over the last few weeks, as lockdown restrictions have lightened, we have also been able to increase the number of volunteer garden transformations through our partnership with Blackpool Coastal Housing. We have recently received a brand new work-placement volunteer from Pavillion Training Services and have kept our engagement with our volunteers from before the lockdown started.
Our work is currently in very high demand, with both our ROC Garden vans currently operating 5 days a week, and in July to help us expand capacity, we will be introducing one of our trikes again with garden tools to support one of the Blackpool estates, and our Regional Coordinator, James will be putting his car and tow bar to good use by helping us expand our volunteer work even further too!
Many of the residents we have helped have been overwhelmed by the support and professional offered. One resident said, “I have never seen my garden look this good before”, another said, “I want your team to keep my garden looking this beautiful”, another said, “The team are fantastic! I can’t sing their praises enough”.
Every day on our ROC Garden Services facebook page, we are receiving stacks of new and encouraging comments on our transformation posts, as well as receiving at least 2 or 3 new requests for work each day too.
ROC Garden is doing its part in redeeming our communities in Blackpool (and expanding around the North West too)