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GVA’s win-win Mend & Tend scheme

By Chief Correspondent Rob Thomas

A GOSPORT man has turned his life around after getting involved in Gosport Voluntary Action’s Mend & Tend scheme, and his customers are benefitting from their well-kept gardens.

Gareth suffered a long period of illness which left him at a low point in his life, feeling isolated and lacking confidence but a childhood hobby became an important part of his recovery.

He said: “I have always liked being outside, there was never one thing that drew me into gardening it just developed over time. I would help out parents/grandparents in the garden and it just went on from there.”

The next step was to join the Mend & Tend scheme which enables vulnerable and disabled people in Gosport and Lee-on-the-Solent to live independently and get DIY jobs – such as, painting and decorating, putting up shelves and pictures, and minor plumbing repairs – and gardening done at low cost.

For Gareth, it was a, “good fit; I was confident in what I was able to do, but I didn’t have a huge amount of confidence of dealing with other people and their gardens.

“Once I had done my first two jobs, I started to feel more relaxed within my role and my confidence grew when I could see the difference I was making, not only in the garden but out of the pleasure the clients would get looking at their garden seeing that it was a place they could enjoy again and not worry about how they would have to look after it.” 

Co-ordinator Emma May is in no doubt the qualities Gareth brings to the scheme: “I feel incredibly lucky to have Gareth working with Mend & Tend, he is such a kind gentleman and loves helping others.  His customers are also full of praise.”

Demand for GVA’s not-for-profit Mend & Tend services is high and there is a waiting list of customers. Therefore, Emma is looking for more people who may not be professionals but are willing to work on a self-employed basis as gardeners, handy workers and decorators to join the team.

All members of the team must undergo an enhanced DBS – Disclosure & Barring Service – check and are paid by the customer.

Further details are available online by clicking on the link in the first paragraph above or by contacting Emma May – email; or phone 02392 503871.

And for Gareth, as well as restoring his confidence, he told The Globe: “The main thing that I have learnt while in this role – gardens and plants can hold a lot of fond memories and all for different reasons.”

Photo (top): Gareth and customer. GVA, reproduced with permission.