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Wednesday, 29 February 2012 09:15

Gardening leave for whg’s green-fingered Alan

When gardening guru Alan Haynes heard that a small community of whg customers needed help to bring their communal garden to life he was quick to lend a hand.

The long-serving whg colleague was impressed by the enthusiasm of residents living in Valley Road, Blakenall, and knew he could help turn their green dream into a real- life idyll.

Alan, a member of Bloxwich Estate Management Team, quickly got stuck into the task at hand and even used some of his annual leave to carry out work in his own time.

His efforts, including planting cuttings of shrubs and trees taken from his own garden, earned Alan a surprise GEM at Work award from whg, Walsall’s leading provider of affordable housing.

GEM at Work, GEM in the Community and Emerald GEM are the three categories of the company’s colleague reward scheme, designed to celebrate those who go the extra mile in the line of duty or in their spare time.

Housing advisor Alan, aged 60, said: “I didn’t do this for recognition or anything like that. It’s just in my nature to lend a hand if someone needs help and they want to learn themselves. I like to share what I know but certainly don’t expect anything by way of reward or recognition.”

whg customer Phil McWatt, aged 57, who lives in one of the Valley Road bungalows, shares Alan’s passion for gardening and also enjoys spending time tending the patch for the benefit of his neighbours and himself.

He said: “Without Alan’s help, we would not have achieved what we have; our small community owes him a big thank you. I’m looking forward to the next season and beyond when the garden will look better than ever.”

Keen gardener Phil won first prize in the Community Garden Champion category of whg’s annual Community Spirit scheme. He won £500 worth of National Garden Vouchers and scooped £1,200 through whg’s Local Neighbourhood Fund (LNF) to cover the cost of equipment, materials, flora and foliage.

whg’s five local committees are responsible for granting awards from the LNF, set up to support worthy community endeavours. Around £400,00 has been awarded since the launch of the LNF in 2007.

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