Over 700 council tenants welcome Garden Aid service restarting

Highland Council headquarters In Inverness. NO F19 council HQ

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Not one of over 700 older and disabled Highland Council housing tenants has declined an offer to have their grass cut once the local authority’s Garden Aid service restarts this coming Monday (June 1).

The council’s housing service currently operates the annual garden aid scheme, cutting grass in approximately 1,300 council house gardens.

The Garden Aid service is for older or disabled tenants who do not have anyone to help them cut their grass.

The seasonal annual start of the 2020 Garden Aid service had been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the council now intends restarting the service from Monday.

Chair of the council’s Housing and Property Committee, Councillor Ben Thompson (Caol and Mallaig) said health and safety is the local authority’s number one priority, which was why the decision was originally made to delay this years’ cutting season.

Caol and Mallaig councillor, Ben Thompson, pictured, is Chair of the council's Housing and Property Committee. NO F19 Ben Thompson 5cm
Caol and Mallaig councillor, Ben Thompson, pictured, is Chair of the council’s Housing and Property Committee.
NO F19 Ben Thompson 5cm

‘We have now taken on board updated government advice, so are making arrangements to start up the 2020 service from next Monday,’ he added.

‘Over the last week housing staff have telephoned over 700 tenants to find out whether they are happy for us to cut their grass in line with the current guidance and protective measures.

‘During these phone calls tenants have been advised that they can opt-out of the next few cuts if they wish to do so. So far no one has opted out and tenants have been very supportive of our approach.’

The council has contacted contractors to advise them that they will be able to start work from next Monday. The plan will be that they attempt to carry out two cuts per month as normal for the remainder of the season, accepting that there may be a longer than usual delay between the first and second cut due to gardens taking longer to cut than normal.

Councillor Thompson added: ‘The contractors will adhere to the government guidelines regarding social distancing and safe working practices. We would like to thank all our Garden Aid tenants for their patience and understanding.’

In anyone has any queries regarding Garden Aid then they are asked to contact Housing Services on 01349 886602.