Gurteen ag college team ‘transform’ courtyard at residential service

17 students and four staff from Gurteen agricultural college recently partnered with Tipperary Volunteer Centre to give a day of their time to transform the exterior and internal courtyard of the villas at St. Anne’s residential service, Roscrea, Co. Tipperary.

The students and their lecturers descended on St. Anne’s with a tractor and trailer; four power-washers, supplied by Birr Tool Hire; their own yard tools; and a strong work ethic in tow.

They cleared overgrown flower beds; planted new flowers, supplied by Milltown Garden Centre, Shinrone; refurbished the raised garden beds; and power washed and cleaned the entire courtyard area.

Worthwhile cause

Melissa White, lecturer in Gurteen college, said that the students were delighted to take part in this volunteering initiative.

“Our students at Gurteen College are very motivated, driven and practical minded. They enjoy working outdoors and found the work at St. Anne’s a very worthwhile cause. The students work well as part of a team but also know when to take their own initiative to achieve their goals,” she said.

The service in St. Anne’s provides residential care and support to adults with varying degrees of intellectual disabilities. Every person resides in a home designed to meet their needs. This service is spread out across the mid-west and into Offaly. It covers many towns and hinterlands, catering for 115 residents, with over 250 staff.

Right time

Catherine Linden, residential service manager in St. Anne’s, said that the volunteering initiative came just at the right time as the area badly needed to be revamped and they simply didn’t have the manpower or the equipment to take on that kind of workload.

Catherine commended the work that was done. “The generosity and good spirit of the students has been overwhelming. Everyone wanted to be here and to help, it was obvious from the students and their enthusiasm to get the job done on the day.”

Sara McDonnell, Tipperary Volunteer Centre, said: “We were so thrilled in the volunteer centre when the staff in Gurteen College agreed to do a volunteer project of this scale. The volunteers worked so hard on the day to make sure everything they set out to do, was done to perfection.

Sense of belonging

“It is important for young people to give back to their communities. It helps to improve them as individuals, build their confidence and give them a sense of belonging.

“It gives them an opportunity to make their community and society a better place. Volunteering is also valuable to have on the CV as it is looked on very favourably by recruiters,” she said.

“On behalf of the Tipperary Volunteer Centre and St. Anne’s Residential Service, I would like to thank everyone involved in this fantastic volunteer programme. It was a huge success and the work done was outstanding. We look forward to working with Gurteen agricultural college again in the future,” Sara said.