You’re hired! Apprentices come to rescue of vandalised garden

The Nottingham City Homes apprentices who repaired the vandalised garden. They are (from left) Duane Cooper, Harry Wright, Matt Gustard, Ben Kerr, Carly Hewes, Genna Spencer and Leanne Dainty.
The Nottingham City Homes apprentices who repaired the vandalised garden. They are (from left) Duane Cooper, Harry Wright, Matt Gustard, Ben Kerr, Carly Hewes, Genna Spencer and Leanne Dainty.

It was a case of ‘You’re hired!’, rather than ‘Youre fired!’, when a team of apprentices came to the rescue of a popular community garden in Bulwell that was badly vandalised.

The Bulwell Forest Garden, which grows fruit and vegetables to share among residents and organises family events, was hit by £3,000 of damage in an attack branded “mindless and heartbreaking”.

But now the apprentices, employed by Nottingham City Homes (NCH), have stepped in to get the garden charity back on its feet. They have repaired smashed-up picnic tables, felted the roof of a damaged gazebo and mended locks and disabled handles in a vandalised toilet.

Their work was part of the nationwide Brathay Apprentice Challenge, which aims to find the best team of apprentices in the country. They are challenged to show their team-building and leadership skills, as well as their logistical and communications abilities.

Matthew Gustard, who is captain of the NCH team, said: “We were so sorry to read in last week’s Dispatch about what happened to Bulwell Forest Garden. It’s such a fantastic project. So we got on the phone and asked what we could do to help. We do a lot to assist the local community.”

Barbara Bates, the development worker at the garden, said: “It was so disappointing when we saw all the vandalism. But the response we have had in support of our project has been fantastic.

“I’m so grateful to everyone, in particular the apprenticeship team at Nottingham City Homes, who came out on a cold day to fix many of the items that were broken. They’re a lovely team of people, and I can’t thank them enough for their hard work.”