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13th Oct 2020
Jenna Gould left Will Hunter Rowe and Katie Docherty at the new outdoor play area and garden at St James Lodge sm

Families living in a King’s Lynn housing scheme aimed at tackling homelessness have a brand-new outdoor play area and garden – thanks to a ‘Garden SOS’ style project run in partnership between a local housing association and its contractors.

Staff from Broadland Housing volunteered their time alongside various contractors to create the new outdoor area at St James Lodge on Hospital Walk in the town, a scheme designed to house homeless families and help them transition into permanent housing.

A £25,000 contribution from Broadland Housing, which runs the scheme, and donations of materials from a range of local companies were complemented by hours of volunteer labour to create an area with play equipment, picnic tables, and planted areas.

The garden and play area were opened by resident Jenna Gould and her children, along with Broadland Housing procurement officer Will Hunter-Rowe and housing manager Katie Docherty, who oversaw the project.

“This is so brilliant, it’s somewhere for the kids to come out and let off steam,” said Ms Gould.  “It was tough during lockdown not having an outside space for them to play, and with more restrictions possibly to come, this will be fantastic.”

Mr Hunter-Rowe added, “After the delay caused by coronavirus, it is really rewarding to see this open.  It is the fruit of many hours of volunteer labour, and a fabulous joint effort with our contractors and with local businesses which have donated materials.

“The estates service team at Broadland did an amazing job completely renovating the gardens, ensuring that the landscaping and planting were done to their usual high standard.  Premier Play Solutions, who installed the play equipment, went above and beyond to help the project team make the play area happen.

“Lockdown demonstrated just how important outside space is for people’s wellbeing, so this couldn’t have come at a better time.”

St James Lodge consists of 20 flats and studios, and is designed to provide short- and medium-term accommodation for homeless people and homeless families with support needs, all of whom must have a local connection.

Local businesses which contributed to the project were:

  • Ben Burgess
  • Campbell Tickell
  • CJ Yardley
  • CLC Contractors
  • Efficiency East Midlands
  • Johnstone's Trade Paints
  • Kevin Cogman
  • Newline Anglia
  • PTS Plumbing Trade Supplies
  • Reconomy
  • Rexel
  • Travis Perkins