Meet Richard and Mike who volunteer at the Garden Project at the Old School in Fairfield.
Richard, who is supported by Macintyre in Warrington, has been working at the project since it started in May 2021. Rich has become a popular member of the group and volunteers every Tuesday and Thursday alongside his support worker Mike. He and Mike have developed a variety of skills in horticulture and making new things for the garden.
A typical week
A typical week can include planting new produce, upcycling old furniture, painting the wrought-iron fence, watering, weeding and maintaining the growing spaces.
The project has created an amazing social group with fourteen volunteers from a variety of backgrounds working together to create a wonderful award winning green space. Everyone enjoys a brew and pastry during break time and have become friends as well as colleagues.
A birthday celebration
The team recently celebrated Richard’s 72nd birthday with a cake and brew party and everyone had a great afternoon together.
Richard also attended the RHS Together in Bloom Awards last year in Bolton where the project was awarded a level 4 “thriving” rating for their continued hard work in transforming the space.
What it means to Richard and Mike
The people are the best part of coming to the Garden project as I’ve made some new friends there like Lewis and Darren and everyone is always laughing when are together. My favourite job is always planting new seeds and plants and I have my own grow bed now with my name on a plaque so I can grow anything I want to.
Mike is Richard’s support worker and also plays an integral part in the development of the garden project, utilising his hands on skills. He says:
I like building new things and seeing how much the project has developed over the past couple of years since we started. We have brightened up the old run-down area as a focal point at the old school now.
Community projects to help others
Through their involvement with the group, Richard and Mike have engaged with lots of local community groups and organisations and have done a variety of community outreach projects using their skills to help others in Warrington.
They are currently working on revamping the Warrington Visually Impaired Team’s sensory memorial garden. They have demolished and cleared some old raised beds at Sandy Lane Nursery to make way for a new accessible garden, transformed the Longford community garden with a tidy up and replant, painted two lock up containers for Warrington Rowing Club, and cut back some overgrown hedges and bushes for two senior citizens who live near the garden project.
Sarah is the lead volunteer at the Garden project and loves the way Richard and Mike have such a good relationship:
I love the banter between Rich and Mike, they have such a laugh together. Mike always supports Richard when he needs it and Richard is known as the site foreman at the garden as he likes to give orders and always has his views on what he would like to plant and where in the gardens.
Another great story on building community connections – and gardens.