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Charity garden boosted by Thames Water volunteers

Monday 10th August 2020 10:00

Thames Water volunteers at Ways and Means Greenshoots garden

Green-fingered volunteers from Thames Water have given people with learning needs a boost after helping a Henley-based charity get its gardens back up and running.

Ways and Means provides training, education and work experience for adults with learning or physical disabilities, or poor mental health. Formed more than 50 years ago, it aims to provide a safe environment where people gain experience and learn social and practical skills for independent living.

Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the Rotherfield Peppard charity needed help to get its Greenshoots garden, which is open to the public for plant and produce sales, back to productive levels.

Thames Water’s vulnerability team, who normally help eligible customers register for the company’s priority services register, spent the day weeding and mulching three raspberry and blackcurrant beds. They also helped pick fruit and berries grown in the bountiful garden, which are then turned into jam and sold by Ways and Means to raise funds.

Volunteer organiser, Tania Christie, who is the vulnerability partnership coordinator at Thames Water, said: “It was great to see the garden being brought back to life. We had a fantastic day outside making it fit to grow lots of berries which can be used to raise funds for the charity. It’s really important we all do our part to take care of our community and many of the people Ways and Means work with are customers who might need extra help from Thames Water, which is why we work with charities to raise awareness of the support services we can provide.”

Frances Woolaway, chief executive of Ways and Means, added: “The lockdown left us in desperate need for help to get our gardens to their normal productivity levels so we can resume our trainee support. The volunteers just got on with the work, picked fruit and cleared three rows of blackcurrant and raspberries, they made a real difference! There is always more work here for volunteers who want to come and help us. Thank you, Thames Water!”

Thames Water has 83,000 customers on its Priority Services Register and plans to increase it to 410,000 by 2025. The register is a secure database of customers who would struggle to get by should their home’s water supply be disrupted.

In such circumstances, priority service customers are contacted by Thames Water’s care team for bottled water deliveries directly to their homes if they are unable to get to a collection hub.

Customers can find out if they qualify for the Priority Services Register and sign up online or by calling us on 0800 009 3652.