With social and industrial changes, and automation of many jobs, more and more people are finding employment out of reach. They are sent on training courses that lead nowhere and forced to apply for non-existent jobs.
That's no good for anyone.
Standard mowing services are provided by social enterprises and micro-businesses – creating low-skilled jobs that are hard physical work done within strict time timetables to minimise prices to customers in a competitive industry. Workers are predominantly male, young and fit.
The proposed nature strip style of gardening is more flexible and provides opportunities for formal and informal education and training, especially to people who have disengaged from formal schooling. Projects can be run by social enterprises who provide additional flexibility and support to their workers as needed.
Local projects would create meaningful jobs close to home, removing common hurdles like transport difficulties and excessive commuter time. It means they stay with their support networks and can continue to fulfil caring responsibilities.
- Meaningful employment that is flexible enough to cater for their circumstances
- Work is close to home – no issues with commuting
- Access to training eg horticulture, admin, etc
- They become known to residents as valuable community members
- Converting verges to nature strips and ongoing maintenance
- Additional tasks could include writing stories and photographing projects depending on abilities and interest
- Unofficial role as familiar face to residents – similar to the role that small businesses sometimes play in building community fabric