So Positive…

I recently heard the sad news that Grass Routes in Chesterfield was having to close its doors on one of their gardening projects and was invited over to collect equipment that we could make use of at our gardening project in Warrington.

On my way home and reflecting on my visit I felt compelled to share in this blog with everyone the Great Interactions I witnessed during my visit and how positive a person could remain, in order to not affect the people he was supporting.

On our arrival in Chesterfield, we were greeted by Gareth Davies a member of staff at Grass Routes who under the sad circumstances was upbeat and very helpful, making sure everything they had to offer would be put to good use and would be going to a good home.

Gareth is such a “natural” support worker who it was clear to see had a great relationship with everyone he supported. Everyone seemed to be drawn to him like a magnet asking him “Gareth is this going?” “Gareth what about this?” With so many voices coming at him from so many angles everyone was answered and was given the time they needed to make them feel as if they were the only person he was having a conversation with. The respect and admiration for Gareth coming from everyone he was supporting was recuperated in equal amounts back to each and every person that was there on this day.

Observing this quality of support in a group of six people was made even more special given the circumstances of our visit: it would have been quite easy to feel rather fed up at the prospect of the imminent closure, but Gareth made sure it was a fun and exciting, encouraging everyone to get involved.

Gareth asked if I wanted to follow him over to a lock up where there was more equipment for us to take and I heard a voice say “can I come too?” Gareth’s lovely response with a big smile was “I’m kind of guessing everyone will want to come?” and before you could blink the mini bus was full of people all clicking in their seat belts ready to set off and help us load up some more equipment.

On my return to Warrington, I contacted Gareth’s line manager asking if she had any photos of Gareth that I could use to go along with this write up; so you can see the two photos I received. On opening them, I smiled and thought ‘yep, these capture the warmth, trust and friendship Gareth has with everyone he supports so well – better than I could ever express in words’.

Darren Briggs
Head of Service
Lifelong Learning Warrington


  • Wendy Cook says:

    Thank you Darren for sharing this and the brilliant photos

  • Tess Marshall says:

    What a lovely blog, Darren, great to be able to recognise Darren’s gifts. Sorry to hear the project is closing.

  • Darren says:

    Awesome! – what a great read

  • Pat Caldwell says:

    Great blog Darren thanks for sharing, its wonderful to see how positive Gareth is even in really sad circumstances.

  • Emma Killick says:

    Thank you for taking the time to write this blog Darren. There is no getting away from the reality that closing a service is difficult and upsetting but like you I have been impressed by the way that people have managed to put their personal feelings to one side and continue to provide positive, meaningful support and involve everyone as much as possible. Huge thanks to Gareth and to the rest of the team at Grass Routes.

  • What a great blog!! Such a positive outlook for such a difficult situation.

  • Alison Wright says:

    Fabulous example of Great Interactions from one of the brilliant Grass Routes team , and especially important under the current circumstances.
    Thanks Darren for writing this blog- it will mean a lot to many people.

  • donald says:

    I hope I’m not being soppy but this is the part of being involved with an organization that makes me sad. I love Grass Routes and they were dear to my heart as a few years ago I made a film, as part of MacIntyre Stories, on Youtube about Grass Routes. So this blog, from Darren from Warrington brought some good memories flooding back.

    They were involved in a football partnership with Chesterfield FC, and after each home match Grass Routes would do a litter duty and make sure all the stands and seating were cleaned. In return they got to watch the games (the lucky people). I felt so made up to meet everyone, and if you want to you can go on youtube and search MacIntyre Stories; then search Grass Routes Football Partnership. The Mag, which I am part of, use to get lots of lovely articles from them.

    This must have been a hard time for the staff and everyone supported by Grass Routes, and I was so happy that I got to know everyone. Well done to everyone who worked and used the service.

  • Jeremy Bugden says:

    Great pics and a smashing attitude. Thanks for sharing this Darren and ‘respect’ Gareth. (Love the picture of the person as bike passenger – head down, throttle out – ready, go!).

  • Natalie Macpherson says:

    Thanks Darren for sharing. Well done to Gareth and the Grass Routes team, I’m not at all surprised by their positive and thoughtful support for the people that attend Grass Routes, even in the most difficult circumstances.

  • Fay Walker says:

    It must be hard to remain so positive at such a difficult time so well done Gareth and the team at Grass Routes. Thank you for sharing, Darren. Hopefully we can put some of their equipment to good use to keep the positive vibes going in Warrington.

  • Jackie Alexander says:

    Thank you for sharing this blog Darren, it is great that despite Grass Routes closing Gareth is remaining positive with the people he supports. Your blog reminded me fondly, of the many occasions I saw some Great Interactions on my visits to Chesterfield and some of the fun times I spent at Grass Routes watching and joining in with some of the work and great projects they were involved with. Lovely photos too!

  • Sharon turner says:

    It’s so sad that Grass Routes is closing. A few years ago I helped manage this wonderful service. It doesn’t surprise me that Gareth remains upbeat during this hard time – the people we supported at Grass Routes always looked up to him as they did the rest of the team. An absolutely fantastic team that I’m proud of once being apart of. The people we support will miss this service and the team but will have some great memories. Good luck to everyone

  • Leander McFadden says:

    What a lovely reflection of your experience – sad circumstances but made to be a very positive activity, involving everybody

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