Over 20 volunteers from the Greggs Shop Development team travelled from as far as Aberdeen to begin the new renovation project at City of Bristol College’s Brislington Centre.
Between them, volunteers made a collective one-way journey of 4,664.8 miles to arrive at The Brislington Centre, home of the college’s Supported Internship Programme and Project Rainbow, ran in partnership with Bristol City Council. While there, they built and installed raised flower beds and planters as well as a new additional shed.
Karen Graney, a member of the Greggs team, said: “I think some of us have travelled so far to get involved today, because it’s a great team event for us. It’s a great opportunity for us to be able to get together and do something that means a great deal, while giving back to the community.
“Hopefully the students here will love it. It will get them outdoors, it will give them more opportunities. It could even be an income stream as well, so all of those things are just amazing really.”
The Greggs’ initiative started out as a one-off project and has since grown into two “sponsored projects” a year – one in the North and one in the South of England. Volunteers will often introduce the rest of the team to organisations, which is exactly how the Greggs team began working with the Brislington Centre. Karen believes that this makes the work they do that bit more personal.
She said: “We’ll definitely be back next year. We want to know that we’re making a difference. The students are already excited, so that’s enough for me. When we do these things, we go away with a real sense of satisfaction and that we’ve done something good, which is a feeling you don’t get every day.”
The companies working alongside Greggs also donate materials and supplies, including power tools and other equipment that, once used, are gifted to the recipients. The Brislington Centre was able to keep such things in their newly built shed, in case they ever wanted or needed to carry out repairs or other DIY jobs.
Adam Metcalfe, The Brislington Centre’s Residential Training Manager, said: “Having the Greggs volunteers work so hard at the house was amazing to see and they exceeded all of our expectations. I can’t believe how much they managed to do in one day! We are all so grateful for all the hard work, determination and persistence that all the staff showed and having the sheds and vegetable planters will make a huge difference to what the students can achieve in their horticulture garden. We are very much looking forward to seeing them all again next year.”
The Brislington Centre is an independence training facility which fully opened to students in September 2017, offering overnight stays from Sunday through to Friday.
Having an independence training facility gives students the opportunity to practice skills they need for a more independent life, including getting themselves ready for the day, shopping, cleaning, cooking, healthy lifestyle, travel training and accessing their local community.
Over the next 5 years, the partnership between The Brislington Centre and Greggs will enable the volunteering scheme to continue to develop the Centre’s garden. Eventually, the Centre will expand with the building of 3 additional live-in “pods” on site, increasing the capacity to 13.
For more information about The Brislington Centre, please go to www.cityofbristol.ac.uk/support/the-brislington-centre/ or pop along to our enrolment sessions.