Birchwood Care Home

Completed: 2018
Location: Chesham, Buckinghamshire
Region: South East
Other local partners: Wickes Chesham

About the project

Birchwood Care Home is a residential facility in Chesham, Bucks, and the project was recommended by the local Wickes Store Manager, Kelly Murch. The main aim of the project was to make the home’s garden more accessible to wheelchair users. This included creating/laying a new paved path around the perimeter of the building, plus the creation of new wheelchair accessible planters and raised flower beds to give all residents the chance to practice their gardening skills and help maintain the garden.

Kelly explains: “In 2017 I met an amazing lady in our store called Anita who volunteers at Birchwood Care Home. She was working tirelessly to improve standards for the residents and had a big project in mind. I made contact with VIY who were so supportive and blew me away by saying they would happily look at what they could do. Alan, a Lead Mentor with VIY, visited the home and put a plan of action in place, and then the project started.”

Over eight days, nine young people referred into the project by nearby Stoney Dean School (and deemed at risk of disengagement) contributed more than 270 volunteer hours on site, supported by VIY Lead Mentors, three members of staff from Wickes Chesham, and also residents at the home – and all of the young people ultimately achieved an Entry Level 3 City & Guilds carpentry accreditation as a result of their efforts.

“Helping as a mentor on the Birchwood Care Home VIY project has been the best thing I've done since I joined Wickes and probably the best thing I've done in my career.” Ian Whittington, Operations Manager, Wickes Chesham