Vulnerable Benwell residents benefit from improved access to free lunch club thanks to partnership between Your Homes Newcastle and Brambledown Landscape Services Ltd.
Broadmead Way Lunch Club, which is ran by volunteers at Broadmead Way Community Church, in West Benwell has been providing free lunches on a Monday for 18 months. Offering a menu of soups and salads to local residents, the lunch club is a vital community resource for lots of people, including many with mobility issues.
As the car park had fallen into serious disrepair, it became more difficult for residents who use wheelchairs and mobility scooters to safely access the service. Enter Your Homes Newcastle (YHN) and Brambledown Landscapes Ltd.
Brambledown Landscapes were already doing work for YHN, who manage properties on behalf of Newcastle City Council, as part of one of YHN’s investment programmes. Their work in the Walker area, which has almost finished now, has seen them adding new paving and improving driveways and parking options for YHN-managed properties.
All of YHN’s partnerships with contractors include an element of additional support for local communities, and Brambledown Landscapes were happy to provide this help through their social responsibility initiative.
The improvement works at the church car park included resurfacing the whole car park and installing handrails to make the lunch club more accessible for all residents. This totalled £11,000 in investment.
The work began back in March but had to be paused due to the national lockdown. Whilst the lunch club is still on hold due to COVID 19, the easing of restrictions over the summer months meant that Brambledown could get back to work and complete the works; meaning the facilities are ready to go as soon as the club can reopen!
Ray Tolley, a volunteer who runs the lunch club, said: “We were surprised and amazed at the job and they have gone above and beyond our expectations. It’s an absolute relief because now those who use mobility scooters and wheelchairs can arrive safely and have a smooth ride instead of a rocky ride”.
YHN’s commitment to improving communities does not stop at property boundaries, and the organisation regularly works with community organisations in the areas it manages homes to ensure local facilities benefit as many residents as possible.
Ian Gallagher, YHN’s Acting Assets and Development Director, said: “We are very passionate about improving the lives of residents living within our communities, and seek to provide far more than safe and secure housing. Our purpose is to make living easier for our customers and having such good relationships with our contractors means that we are in a position to go above and beyond to support many local initiatives.
“We also have our own funding streams and local community groups are encouraged to apply to us for grants for particular projects – details of these can be found on our website at www.yhn.org.uk ”.
Neil Blakelock, Contract Manager at Brambledown Landscapes, said: “We have completed countless successful projects of all values over a 40+ year association with Newcastle City Council and YHN and this project was testament to that partnership.
“The works at Broadmead were quite technically challenging, but we achieved the objective together and delivered an excellent quality finished product that was incredibly well received by all.
“I personally witnessed some of the praise and positive comments given to our site staff from local residents and centre users and actually found it quite touching.
“We were very proud to be part of such a well-received and deserved scheme”.