St. Agnes Church has unveiled its new sensory garden to the Reddish community which has been transformed thanks to a team of enthusiastic volunteers from Virgin Media O2 and its partner, Wingnut Utilities.
Supporting the work of charity Re:dish to improve local spaces, the team of eager volunteers were on a mission to transform the church’s garden into an inclusive and peaceful haven for visitors and the local community.
What initially started out as a garden revamp quickly developed into a full scale makeover, with members of the team collectively giving more than 60 days of their time over the past two years to complete the project. The garden has now been transformed into a sensory space with its own rockery, interactive wheelchair height planters, fully accessible patio area, bug hotel, bird table and lawn to enjoy in the summer months.
The volunteers hard work provides a new space for visitors to enjoy as part of the Dementia Café within the church. Now in it’s seventh year, the café provides a place for people living with dementia and their carers to enjoy company, entertainment and food.
The volunteers were able to take part thanks to Virgin Media O2’s ‘Take Five’ initiative, which offers all staff five paid volunteering days a year to support projects – either in-person or digitally – helping them give back and support their local community.
Julian Holland, Community Lead Regional Manager at Virgin Media O2, said: “It’s been years of hard work and I couldn’t be prouder seeing it all come together. I can’t thank Pete Lambert and the Wingnut Utilities volunteers enough for the effort and dedication they’ve provided to help us transform the garden: we know how much this café means to local people and it’s been a fantastic way to give back.”
With around 16,000 employees working for the company nationwide, Virgin Media O2 staff are committed to offering their time to charities, community groups, and schools throughout the UK. The business is aiming to help 1 million people through volunteering by 2025.
Nicola Green, Chief Corporate Affairs and Sustainability Officer at Virgin Media O2, said: “We launched ‘Take Five’ to make it easier than ever for all of our people to support their local communities and volunteer for causes that matter to them. Each month, our people volunteer in locations right across the UK and it’s wonderful to see how their hard work and dedication is making a difference to the communities we serve – including Reddish.”
Andrew Gwynne, Shadow Minister for Public Health said: “I was delighted to attend the opening at St. Agnes Church Dementia café gardens where Virgin Media O2 has been working hard with Re:dish to transform the garden at this community centre into an interactive sensory space for the community of Reddish. I was also delighted to hear about all the great work Virgin Media O2 are doing around digital inclusion.”
Last year, Virgin Media O2 launched its first sustainability strategy as a joint business, the Better Connections Plan, outlining its bold commitments to cut carbon, champion circularity, and support communities as it upgrades the UK. The business aims to help tackle data poverty by connecting 1 million digitally excluded people; and equip 6 million people with the skills and tools to feel more connected to digital society by the end of 2025.