Twenty-five local people with a physical or mental disability are to have their gardens tended to for free by a Mayfield social enterprise.
Mayfield and Easthouses Y2K project Growing Gardeners, formerly Midlothian Gardening Services, will carry out the work thanks to a £98,000 grant from the Scottish Government’s People and Communities Fund. The scheme will also see eight Newbattle High School pupils with behavioural issues receive on the job training.
Tommy Campbell (22), an administrator with Growing Gardeners for two years, explained more about this project which will see two pupils at a time work with two Growing Gardeners staff.
He said: “We are having eight young people with behavioural issues from Newbattle to do the work as a work placement in an eight week programme. It’s like an alternative timetable for them. And it will go on their CV when they leave school.
“It’s highly important. This area is in Midlothian Council’s top three priority areas in Midlothian to reduce social deprivation. Schemes like this will help tackle that.
“This offers the young people work experience, giving them social and communication skills when dealing with customers. While getting trained on the job they will learn all these vital life skills.
“The work will be carried out over the next four months. We will quote the jobs as usual and take the money from the grant, with up to two and half hours spent on each garden.”
Started in 2009, the social enterprise currently has six staff at its Bogwood Road premises.
Tommy added: “We employ people from the local community. One or two of our staff had school issues beforehand.
“We moved here in 2013 and then changed our name this year. As Midlothian Gardening Services we were getting confused with Midlothian Council a lot. It wasn’t good for business, so we wanted a fresh name and a new logo.
“It’s going well, hopefully we have a bright future ahead.”
The group is also having a ‘best garden in the community’ competition for residents in Mayfield and Easthosues. To enter call 0131 663 3432.