Rickmansworth residents join team of volunteers to celebrate improved shared space

Updated: 20 September 2017

Residents joined volunteers to celebrate the creation of a welcoming new shared outdoor space at their Rickmansworth homes.

A team of 70 volunteers have been working to improve the communal area in and around Mead Place, in Berry Lane, Mill End, for local people to enjoy.

Work has involved clearing overhanging trees and undergrowth, creating seated areas with benches, installing gates and fencing, moving and updating laundry drying areas, providing covered bike stores and constructing new bin storage areas.

Staff from local housing association Thrive Homes, which has spearheaded the project following consultation with residents, clocked up over 400 hours of volunteering time to complete the transformation.

They were joined by members of the Thrive board and Customer Experience Panel, plus staff from its contractors Sovereign Business Integration Group, PiLon, VPS Group and Pinnacle PSG. Garden tools were donated for the project by Oxhey Woods Conservation Group, which Thrive has previously supported with a community grant.

Mead Place residents gathered for afternoon tea and cakes in the new communal space on Monday (18th September) to celebrate completion of the work, along with representatives of Thrive – including Chief Executive Elspeth Mackenzie and Chair of the Board Ashley Lane – and their contractors.

Local resident Nicola Ponsford, who has lived at Mead Place with her partner and two young daughters for nearly two years, said: “I look out onto this area from my kitchen window and this is a big improvement – it looks really nice.
“The volunteers have cleared away a lot of the overgrown shrubs so there are more grassed areas where residents can get together. There will be benches for people to sit out too – it’s good for us to have more space for things like that. Hopefully it will bring us all together more.

“They’ve also put up fencing to separate the back of the flats from the front so, if the children are playing out at the back, they can’t get onto the road which runs in front of the flats.”

Thrive consulted with Mead Place residents in June about the communal area and drew up the improvement plan as a result of their feedback.

Catherine Cooper, Assistant Director, ICT & Business Innovation, at Thrive Homes, said: “Our contracts with partners include provision for achieving social value, which has enabled this project to succeed.
“Volunteers from Sovereign, PiLon, VPS Group and Pinnacle PSG all gave their time, expertise, materials and enthusiasm free of charge, which was a real bonus.

“We’d like to thank them all for helping us to make a huge difference, creating a welcoming space where members of the local community can come together.”

The two-week volunteering drive is part of the housing association’s ‘Thrive GIVE’ initiative which aims to benefit communities and worthy causes, bringing social value through a variety of schemes.

Thrive GIVE (Generating Income for Voluntary Enterprises) includes the ‘Give your Time’ staff volunteering programme, ‘Give Grants’ community fund, ‘Give Support’ scheme which links charities with private sector support and ‘Give a Voice’ campaign to ensure customers have their say.