Over a 7 month period in 2018, the Steel Valley Project carried out work on a project for Sheffield City Council Housing and Neighbourhood Service.
The project helped people in council housing who were struggling to keep on top of their gardens. Our usual working environment sees us in local woodland, parks and moorland, so this added a new dimension to our work. However, it fits perfectly with one of our key aims which is to ‘help people understand, value and care for their local environment to help create healthy and sustainable communities’.
Environmental Project Officer, Richard Saunders, described our intervention as a “helping hand” with volunteers clearing gardens back to a manageable level so that tenants felt able to continue with the ongoing maintenance themselves.
Over the length of the project, we worked on 11 different gardens in the Stocksbridge, Deepcar, High Green and Stannington areas. Strimming was the most commonly required work but some gardens also needed overgrown hedges cutting back. This meant the purchase of a new hedge trimmer for the charity and additional certified training for staff and volunteers.
Tenants benefitting from the project are now able to use gardens which were previously too overwhelming to tackle and had become no-go zones. In one case, reduced mobility problems had made it difficult for the tenant to continue looking after a hedge. Another garden had become so wild that it took two vanloads of garden waste to clear.
Mayor of Stocksbridge, Julie Grocutt, spent a day volunteering with the Steel Valley Project to work on one of the gardens. Speaking afterwards, she commented “I was delighted to go out and work on the project for a day. I’m very sad to see it come to an end as I saw first-hand the positive benefits it made to residents who have no other assistance. Well done to the Steel Valley Project staff and volunteers who have been supporting residents in the Upper Don Valley through this project.”
Speaking on behalf of the Steel Valley Project, Tom Newman Project Manager said “It’s been a good project for everybody involved, helping individuals in the local community, giving our volunteers new skills and training, and supporting Sheffield City Council’s Housing and Neighbourhood Services. I have also seen the sense of satisfaction which our volunteer teams experienced from helping people and completing the gardens.”