Wootton-based Care in the Garden is set to grow thanks to the support of the Isle of Wight Foundation.
The not-for-profit company which works to bring the community together by using gardening to help change lives has just taken delivery of a much-needed van to transport its teams of supported workers and supervisory staff to and from jobs.
The Mower Men, as the team is called, provide garden maintenance and grass-cutting for community projects including for local town and parish councils, private nursing homes and other private business contracts. The work provides those involved, many of whom have learning disabilities, a chance to experience the social and economic benefits of work in a supportive environment.
The vehicle has been purchased using an £11,000 grant from the IW Foundation. The Foundation comprises the companies behind Island Roads and each year provides grants of between £3,000 and £16,000 to give support to projects that tackle social exclusion.
The Care in the Garden van has been sourced by local company Bartlett’s and, as well as being able to transport a work crew of eight, it also has a basic kitchen on board from which staff can prepare food and take respite breaks.
“This means we can both transport larger work crews to jobs, ensure they have somewhere they can sit and take a break and also that these crews can stay out longer as there is no need to return to base to get their lunch,” said Care in the Garden founder and managing director John Goodenough.
“Consequently, we are now able to undertake larger jobs which will be vital in helping us to raise funds to carry out our work.
“The vehicle will make a tremendous difference to Care in the Garden and help us give new opportunities to even more people. We’re really grateful to the IW Foundation for their support.
“Island Roads have helped us out with several projects in the past and to the backing of the IW Foundation as well has been a fantastic boost.”
Under the IW Foundation grant scheme, all projects receiving aid are ‘sponsored’ by an Island Roads employee to help develop links between the company and the Island community.
Paul Gibb-Narey, Island Roads highways supervisor and sponsor of the Care in the Garden grant, said: “The new van will mean that even more people will be able to gain the benefits of working with Care in the Garden and everyone connected with Island Roads is delighted to be able to support such a worthwhile project.”
The Isle of Wight Foundation is funded by Ringway Island Roads, Meridiam, VINCI UK Foundation and VINCI Concessions who together make up the partnership behind Island Roads. So far it has distributed over £400,000 to local good causes and community groups tackling social exclusion on the Island.