Young and unemployed volunteers have been praised for helping to set up a one-stop centre and sensory garden in Kirkby that supports elderly and disabled people across the county.
The Diamond Centre on Diamond Avenue is the new home for DiPSU, a successful charity that enables vulnerable adults to remain in their own homes and lead independent lives.
The building was run-down and its garden overgrown when DiPSU moved from its former base at the Oakham Business Park in Mansfield three weeks ago.
But now all is spick and span -- thanks to help from disadvantaged youngsters, aged 16 to 25, attached to the Prince’s Trust, and also long-term jobless people who are part of the Community Sparkle organisation, which helps those in deprived areas find work. All are from the Ashfield and Mansfield area
“I cannot speak highly enough of them,” said Darren Renshaw, a volunteer with DiPSU. “We often see negative headlines when it comes to today’s youngsters and long-term unemployed. But they have been incredible, showing tremendous effort and endeavour. They wanted to give something back to the community.”
The work carried out has included painting, decorating, cleaning, weeding, planting and making sure the centre is wheelchair-accessible. The volunteers have even built a pagoda for the sensory garden, which was officially opened with a barbecue celebration last Thursday morning.
“We wrote to Prince Charles himself to thank them for their help, and received a rather nice reply,” added Darren.
The new-look base will help DiPSU, which was founded in 2003, create Nottinghamshire’s Centre for Independent Living. This will be a one-stop marketplace providing information, support and advice to elderly and disabled people who receive direct payments for their care needs.
It will also assist them to recruit their own personal assistant, the new name for carer because it more accurately reflects the role they carry out in helping with everyday tasks, such as shopping, that others take for granted.
DipSU stresses the centre will be for the whole community too, and is offering a free room for hire for local groups and events, such as parties.