Young people in Kinver are putting the wheels of a community volunteering project into motion, thanks to funding from a housing association.
Around 48 young volunteers are working with the Kinver Community Partnership to help elderly and disabled residents in the village maintain their gardens, as well as working on other community projects.
South Staffordshire Housing Association (SSHA) has given funding to the Partnership, which is made up of Staffordshire Police, Kinver Action Group, Neighbourhood Watch, and SSHA.
The funding has allowed the Partnership to run an electric van, which is being used by the police to carry equipment for the young volunteers to use to maintain people’s gardens. Police Community Support Officers (PCSO’s), who normally travel by bike, are also using the vehicle to go out to Bobbington and Enville.
SSHA has also funded three benches for a garden at the Kinver Senior Citizens Club, which was overgrown and has been transformed into a usable attractive area by volunteers of various ages, as well as local businesses.
Rachel Chudley, head of housing services at SSHA, said: “We are delighted to be supporting this project. The initiative gives young people an opportunity to see the value of volunteering and the impact it can have on other people’s lives.
“The Kinver Community Partnerships is committed to ensuring the village is a safe place where people are proud to live, and together the partners are all working together to achieve this vision.”
PC Chris Baker, of Kinver Police, said: “It’s great that the funding from South Staffordshire Housing Association has helped us bring the electric van back into use. It is making a real difference to the lives of people in Kinver and we will soon be rolling out the same scheme to the villages of Enville and Bobbington.
“Myself and the PCSO’s would normally walk or travel by bike so it is making it easier for us to get out to surrounding villages on a more regular basis.
“The volunteer project is an intergenerational project aimed to bridge the gap between the young and elderly and is a great way for young people to get involved with and to help others in the community.”
The young people will be presented with a bronze certificate after 10 hours of volunteering, a silver after 20 hours, gold after 30 hours and platinum after 40 hours. These can then be used by the young people for their school CV to show prospective employers that they are community spirited. On reaching the platinum certificate, they will be rewarded with a trip to a theme park or a small gift of their choosing.
PC Baker added: “Forty hours doesn’t sound very long, but with 48 young people registered it will take some time for everyone to reach that point.
“Those registered so far are pupils of Edgecliff High School in Kinver and the head teacher Chris Rogers is in full support of the scheme. However, if there are other young people who attend different schools who live in Kinver, Enville or Bobbington, they would be welcome to join the scheme.”
If you feel you have the skills to be able to help assist the young volunteers in gardening whilst helping people within the community please contact PC Chris Baker on 0300 123 2345 extension 03602 or for SSHA tenants call Helen Wallett on 0800 096 8690.