Businesses have been donating time, money and goods to help see a community project get off the ground.
They have supported a project to create a garden on an unused piece of land beside Swindon Crown Court, which will now be somewhere private and peaceful to wait for witnesses and victims.
The venture is a joint one between Victim Support Wiltshire and The Rotary Club of Swindon, and Rotarians have called in their contacts among the business world to help out.
Tim Hanley joined The Rotary Club of Swindon in November, and in January set up his own business Milbrooke Construction.
By donating their time and services, Tim has been instrumental in turning the court garden into a reality. The garden itself was designed by Swindon College student Karen Neal.
Said Tim: “Our Rotary president Nicky Alberry approached me about taking on this project because she knows my company specialises in groundworks including excavations, slabbing and concreting.”
Victim Support Wiltshire were able to put in some money to help remove some old trees, following consultation with a tree surgeon, and Tim started by excavating the garden, which is approximately 8 metres by 16 metres, removing top soil and old shrubs and bushes.
A Plant, of Swindon, donated the machinery to help dig over the site. Swindon Borough Council’s Commercial Services team donated the hardcore, in that tarmac planings taken off roads they were repairing, were recycled and used to go under the garden’s hard landscaped areas.
Drainex of Swindon provided drainage materials, including three recessed manhole covers. Rockstone Surfacing, another town firm, donated around five tonnes of tarmac.
Donations have also come from Keyline Builders Merchants in the form of slabs to put over the tarmaced areas. Jewsons and Kellaways have donated fencing panels and posts to screen the garden from the pavement.
Charles Church the house building company donated £750 towards planting, while Gloucester road marking and lining firm Roadmark donated a surface finish for the tarmac.
Dozens of Rotarians took up their spades to dig over the site and put in the planting. When it came to the actual plants, many were donated by Erlestoke Prison garden centre. Two benches of red cedar wood were also donated by the prison. Wood from old pallets was given by West End Farm, at Bishop Cannings near Devizes, and former railway workers Frank Drew and Peter Pragnell made it up into planters.
Tim believes the whole project would have cost £10,000, plus a lot more in time, if it had been done commercially.
Said Tim: “I was very happy to agree to help out with this project, especially when I saw inside the Crown Court. People all have to sit together in corridors, and there is no privacy. This garden will be a perfect place for witnesses and victims to go, and will also be a facility for staff to use.”
Nicky Jupp, Victim Support Wiltshire, said: “Thanks to everyone who has helped with this. I am thrilled that the garden is finished. I know it will make such a difference at the court for all the anxious victims and witnesses waiting to give precious evidence and to the team of volunteers who support these people in their hour of need.”