The Great Communities Eco/Green project is a project developed by local community volunteers at the old school Fairfield and Howley. We have a team of 8 volunteers now who come and support the project every week. The team have come together to transform the old playground and side area of the old school to make it a more accessible green space. So far the team have demolished the old pagoda and raised beds and replaced them with more modern working and accessible beds for growing local produce.
The volunteers come every week whatever the weather and have also transformed the side area of the old school from what was once an overgrown derelict area to a small garden featuring plants, flower, fruit and Vegetables and a water feature and insect, bee and bird boxes to attract more local wildlife to the area.
The volunteer scheme we set up has also helped recruitment at Macintyre as one of our volunteers from when we set up last year has now become a support worker at Macintyre after working so well with some of the people we support that volunteer with us on the project. The group have also developed socially and are now friends and really enjoy the social interaction the project has provided.
As part of MacIntyre Warrington’s Great Communities Eco Project at The Old School, Sarah and Lewis reflect on their experiences as volunteers.
Speaking on the beginning stages of their Eco Project volunteering, Sarah said:
“We started our volunteering in May 2021 to enable Lewis to have some social interaction again, as he is such a people person and gardening is his most favourite thing to do, give him a brush or shovel and that’s it, he’s in his element. This group, who are full of character, energy and enthusiasm, have allowed him to engage in a positive, productive role and develop his social skills, mental and physical health further.”
“For Lewis the opportunity to be himself, make new friends, be active, and experience this with others is totally priceless. Lewis is now actively engaging in all aspects of the project, including watering, planting and DIY!”
“For me I feel a great sense of achievement from what we have created as a group with just a few hours a week volunteering. We have taken a totally overgrown and unused piece of land and created a beautiful, thriving and productive garden, we call this our little happy place. It has been a very rewarding time, with my love of gardening and to have had the opportunity to pass on what knowledge I’ve gained through the years, to hopefully enable the group to develop their understanding and gain their own confidence in gardening. Like Lewis, I have also made a great set of new friends as we grow together!”
Peter Connor, MacIntyre's Great Communities Manager in Warrington also spoke on Sarah and Lewis’ contribution:
“They have been brilliant volunteers ad led the way on the project so much which is a massive part of what we try to do on Great Communities here in Warrington.”