The Good Shepherd were delighted to welcome a group of staff from Lloyds Banking Group who learned more about the range of services which the charity provides and quite literally got their hands dirty on the gardening project.
Karl Aston, Darren Betteridge, Sharon Billings, Carly Derham, Sarah Holyhead and Glen Roberts, from the Pendeford Renewals section spent a day at the Good Shepherd as part of Lloyds Banking Group’s ‘Day To Make A Difference’ initiative offering staff the chance to support charities in the community.
While the rain-soaked weather put paid to plans for the group to paint exterior railings, instead they converted donated wooden pallets into herb-growing trays, levelled gravel on a newly-created garden and rubbed down the metal railings, ready for them to be painted on a drier day.
Glen said: “It was very worthwhile attending here today and for us to make a contribution to such a worthwhile cause.”
His thoughts were echoed by Sarah, who added: “It’s humbling to be here and see how many people the Good Shepherd support each day.
“It felt good to come and help, even if only in the small way that we did.”
It was help that was greatly appreciated by the staff at the Good Shepherd, who have been unable to welcome assistance from companies in this way for a long time due to Covid.
As well as undertaking the manual work, Lloyds staff were given a tour of the facilities and also shown how art is being used to help service users deal with their issues.
Artist and photographer Chris Manley, a volunteer with the Good Shepherd, said that people who had never considered painting or sculpting before had found a voice in their art.
He explained: “One guy, who had lived on the streets for a long time, was very reluctant to try painting, but once he did, he loved it.
“When I saw his work, saw the red figure he had painted surrounded by chaos, I told him that he had put his ten years of experiences of living on the streets into a painting.”
Art is the focus of the forthcoming ‘It Starts With A Meal’ exhibition at the Good Shepherd, an immersive art exhibition and tour which will allow visitors to see exactly what the centre does, speak to service users and view examples of the art they have created.
As part of the immersion, anyone attending will have to queue outside to get in – mirroring the daily queuing that service users do for a hot meal.
Visiting the Good Shepherd was certainly an eye-opening experience for the Lloyds Bank staff who visited.
Carly said: “You think it could never happen to you, that you would never be in a situation like this.
“But all it takes is a series of unfortunate events and any of us could be there, helpless and vulnerable.
“Coming here today made me appreciate how lucky I am to have the life I have and it also fired all of us to come back and help again.
“It is a fantastic project that deserves our ongoing support.”
Everyone at the Good Shepherd would like to thank the group from Lloyds Banking Services and the company as a whole for their fantastic support both on the day and overall.
Any other businesses interested in a day’s volunteering or supporting the Good Shepherd can email [email protected]