Green team digs in to give GHA tenants great gardens

AN army of trainees have been brought in to tend gardens while families living on a problem site are moved to temporary accommodation.

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n Margaret Sharp with trainees Jamie Napier, Marc Weir, Thomas McDonald and Iain Chisholm
n Margaret Sharp with trainees Jamie Napier, Marc Weir, Thomas McDonald and Iain Chisholm

Hundreds of families in the East End scheme battled to prevent their homes being demolished after structural faults were found.

Major renovations are to be carried out to their homes and trainees have now been recruited to maintain gardens while residents are in temporary accommodation during the upgrade.

And there will be no shortage of work for the squad of eight environmental trainees.

Glasgow Housing Association is stumping up £38million to upgrade 900 properties on the Winget estate in Carntyne, which will take several years to complete.

Furious residents were spurred into action when told their homes would have to be flattened because of structural defects. They forced housing chiefs to shelve their demolition plans and agree a multi-million pound makeover.

It means residents are having to quit their homes for weeks until the vital work is done, but GHA officials have now taken steps to make sure families return to well maintained gardens.

Contractor City Building has taken on local recruits to keep gardens tidy. The eight trainees had all been jobless and already two of them have been offered work on other projects.

Tenant Margaret Sharp was delighted when she moved back home. The 79-year-old said: "The lads have done brilliantly. The garden looks fantastic. They cleared away moss, cut back some of the trees and even put a new fence round the garden.

"It looks a 100% better and it means I'm getting much more light into my house too. It's a really good thing for people to get these job opportunities too."

GHA chairman Gordon Sloan is also a Winget tenant. He said: "It's great that, with our partners at City Building, we can offer local people employment opportunities in these tough times.

"The trainees themselves have really responded well to the chance to learn new skills and residents have told me how much they appreciate the improvement in the environment. It's a win-win situation."

City Building's executive director Graham Paterson added: "Partnerships like this add to the communities where we work by creating these jobs."

The boost comes after the Evening Times reported in March how a security crackdown had to be introduced by the police after metal thieves targeted empty homes on the estate.

Police stepped up patrols while the GHA installed CCTV cameras inside empty properties in an attempt to capture images of the thieves. Some homes were targeted within hours of families being moved out to temporary accommodation.

Workmen are upgrading the homes of 600 tenants and up to 300 belonging to owner-occupiers. Renovations began in 2010 and are due to be completed by the end of 2015.

gordon.thomson@ eveningtimes.co.uk

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