Our latest blog comes from Rowenna Valintine, Customer Care and Community Investment Manager, Wates Living Space
“I have been with Wates for five years and every year I have taken part in the business’ Reshaping Tomorrow Week, our annual week-long volunteering initiative where we give up our time to help some of the most vulnerable members of society. It is such a rewarding time of year for all of us; we get to use our skills to help our neighbours and it never ever fails to make me feel proud. It can be hard work. It’s all hands to the pump but we make a difference and it’s such an incredible experience.
For this year’s Reshaping Tomorrow Week I helped lead a project to create a community garden at the Big Venture Centre in Wolverhampton in partnership with the BBC WM through its Great West Midlands Makeover project. Against all odds, the Big Venture Centre does amazing work to provide vital services to the local community. Having lost public funding in 2014, it reopened as a community asset under the Scotlands and Bushbury Hill Big Local Partnership in 2017 and is now run as a charity by volunteers. Its work benefits a great many people locally, from families to the elderly, so it needs and deserves a lot of support.
We were introduced to the project for the Big Venture Centre by our client, Wolverhampton Homes. We recently renovated a complex of 157 flats at Merridale Court on behalf of Wolverhampton Homes and when we asked them to nominate a worthy local project for our Reshaping Tomorrow Week, the Big Venture Centre was perfect due to the incredible ways it works to support the community.
One of the best things about Reshaping Tomorrow Week is working as a team for one cause. Everyone cares and everyone is willing to go above and beyond to get the job done. The Big Venture Centre wanted to use this project to create a community garden in order to enhance and innovate the support services that they offer. New initiatives made possible by the community garden include gardening clubs, educational workshops, outdoor therapy sessions and the creation of a produce bank for local people to grow and cook food for those in financial hardship. The Big Venture Centre had an ambitious vision and it was our job to bring this to life. We’ve created raised beds, a sensory area, a bug zone for children and a seated area with tables and chairs. What has been achieved in just one week through our team’s hard work and dedication is amazing.
For me personally, Reshaping Tomorrow Week is about using your passion and drive to make a difference. I am the daughter of a groundsman and I’ve always loved being outside so I have thoroughly enjoyed the week but more than this, it has meant so much to me to make a change to people’s lives. We can all get so busy with our day-to-day lives that we can sometimes overlook the needs of others. Reshaping Tomorrow Week reminds us how important it is to work together and the amazing things that can be achieved when we do.
Of course, none of this would have been possible without our amazing supply chain partners in Wolverhampton, who have donated time, labour and materials. Special mention needs to go to RDS, who did all of the paving, Yee, which supplied a greenhouse, Moss Vales, who supplied the garden shed, Recycling Lives, who supplied skips, Continental Landscaping Ltd, which supplied plants and Argonauts Community Enterprise, who cleared the land before work commenced – to name just a few!”