Have you heard about the Kidsgrove Community Garden Scheme? Are you struggling to maintain your garden? Do you need help with cutting your lawns? If the answer is yes then you may benefit from a new scheme for the elderly and disable people of Kidsgrove, providing low cost, basic gardening. All the work is carried out by volunteers and does not aim to compete with established gardening businesses.
To qualify you need to live in one of the five wards of Kidsgrove, own or privately rent your property and have no on to do your gardening for you.
Many elderly people are targeted by bogus callers due to the overgrown state of their gardens. The aim of the scheme is to try and deter bogus callers and to encourage independent living.
Organiser and Father Hudson representative, Matt Ford said:
“This scheme will ensure that the elderly and disabled in the community can get access to a gardening scheme at very little cost. All our volunteers are vetted before they can start to work at any property. We are trying to ensure that people can recognise our Community Garden Scheme and feel safe enough to accept our help. We are a not for profit organisation just trying to do our bit for Kidsgrove. We would like to thank Rich Evans and Kidsgrove Tesco for donating lawn mowers to our cause.”
The scheme has received wide public support and the backing of local Councillors. Butt Lane Councillor, Kyle Robinson said:
“I completely support Matthew Ford and the Father Hudson society for putting together a well needed service. Government cuts have led to the loss of the local handyman service that many elderly and vulnerable people relied on. I also think it’s great that the service isn’t just for people on benefits as far too often this cancels people out. The need is out there and I regularly come across residents needing all kinds of support in their home. I have now set up a system with Matt so that I can refer people in my ward to access the service efficiently. This scheme will be a huge success and I was pleased to support it from the start. It shows what can be achieved when communities pull together.”
If you would like more information or help with your garden please contact Matthew Ford, Father Hudson’s Society Development Officer on: 07587034299.
This week I attended the Labour Party Annual Conference and spoke about engaging local people in democracy and delivering services, and how I have worked with local young people in Kidsgrove to set up a Youth Parliament
I told conference:
“The Tories decimated our Youth Services in Staffordshire despite 16,000 people signing a petition opposing the cuts. Young people are feeling more vulnerable than ever in these difficult times, they rely on these key support services.”
“In the face of these cold and calculating cuts, young people are responding in the most positive and extraordinary ways. Setting up their own Youth Parliament within the Town of Kidsgrove, they are now delivering Youth Services with support of the Labour Town Council. With a budget of £2000 a year, the Youth Parliament has helped clean up their community by installing flower beds, donating benches to the local war memorial, setting up knitting with ‘nanas groups’ and organising youth advice days in the absence of formal Youth Services.”
“Young people are choosing to use their own funds to support everyone, in particular the elderly. Their hard work and direct involvement in the community has helped break down barriers and created a more caring atmosphere that all have benefitted from.”
I talked about how inspiring it is to see young people engaging in locally based work and getting involved where previously they were ignored.
I reinforced to the Conference audience the importance of the Labour Party policy pledge to give votes to sixteen year olds in all elections, telling them that this would help to determine that young people and their concerns won’t be ignored by politicians and the decision makers.
Education on local government and politics needs to improve. Far too often young people are leaving school not knowing a single thing about their right to vote and how to have their say on local and national issues. This needs to change if we want to rid ourselves of apathy that does our communities no favours.