Thanks to a generous donation of Sandtex Trade High Cover Smooth by Crown Paints, the elderly residents of a Blackburn residential care home have had two of their enclosed communal gardens transformed into brighter, more colourful and welcoming environments in time for summer. By donating all the paint required for this community project, the manufacturer has also helped a group of disadvantaged young people from Blackburn to gain valuable work experience, develop self esteem, learn how to work as a team and acquire new skills to improve their career prospects.

Crown Paints teamed up with Lancashire Fire & Rescue Service, one of the county’s key delivery partners for the Prince’s Trust Volunteers Programme which arranges and supervises carefully structured 12-week long projects for young people aged 16-25 years old. This particular project involved an extensive garden makeover, arranged with the co-operation of the management team at Linden House, and the team members approached Crown with a request for all the paint required to complete the project.

Vicky Jones, Sandtex brand manager said: “As a major manufacturer and employer in the Blackburn and Darwen area we take our community responsibilities seriously and were delighted to help with such a worthwhile scheme which promised to deliver benefits on a number of levels.”

She added: “Clearly the elderly residents of Linden House were going to benefit as a result of having their gardens transformed with our paints. But more importantly, we were keen to help disadvantaged young people from a variety of different backgrounds to discover their talents, achieve results by working in a well co-ordinated team and generally boost their chances of gaining employment in the future.”

The project was completed and officially opened in June by the Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen Councillor James Hirst. The residents of the care home are now able to enjoy the colourful environments that the volunteers have created for them.

Team leader from the Lancashire Fire & Rescue Service, Nicola Valverde, said: “There were fifteen young people involved in this scheme, all unemployed and all facing different barriers preventing them from moving forward with their lives. The care home project was not just about decorating, although we certainly found that quite a few of the volunteers showed promise in that area. We also had team members involved in making risk assessments, arranging storage of supplies, requesting donations from local companies, issuing invitations to our open day and co-ordinating publicity with the local newspaper.

“Everyone had a role to play and a contribution to make. They not only delivered excellent results at Linden House, they also left the project with more confidence, a sense of achievement and a City & Guilds Level 1 certificate….which for many of them was the very first qualification they had ever gained.”

She added: “We’re very grateful to Crown Paints who supplied the biggest item on our shopping list free of charge and really helped us to make this project a great success.”