St. Martin's Residential Home - which is based in Imperial Avenue, Westcliff-on-Sea - is a non profit making residential care home for the elderly, which offers 24-hour care. The home was opened in the 1940's by the Mission of Hope charity which was founded in London 1894 by two ladies - Miss Perram and Miss Craig - to provide relief for the 'suffering poor irrespective of creed, colour or financial means'. Today St Martin's is the only remaining arm of the Charity and its efforts are the continuing provision of permanent care for the elderly including those with dementia.
The garden at St Martin's plays an important role in providing enjoyment and therapy for the residents and therefore it needs to be well and constantly maintained. With this in mind the charity put out a request for some volunteers to help out, and the NatWest team were happy to be involved.
The seven strong NatWest team - who are based at branches in Rayleigh, Southend, Westcliff, Rochford and Benfleet - were challenged to undertake various gardening tasks, including weeding flower borders, digging and trimming hedges. They also worked on painting the summerhouse.
Anne Andrews, the deputy manager of NatWest Rayleigh Branch, who led the team of volunteers, said: "My colleagues and I are very much aware of the great work St Martin's does, so we wanted to do something to help. One of the commitments of NatWest's Customer Charter is 'to support the communities in which we live and work', so when we heard about the help St Martin's needed, we jumped at the chance to get involved. It was a lot of hard work, but the results look great and the team at St Martins have already said a big thank you to us. A Dementia friendly garden will open at the care home next summer and we have promised to go back next spring to do more planting a weeding."
Janene Harwood, NatWest's Local Chief Executive Officer for the Southend area, added: "I'm delighted my colleagues have given the team at St Martin's such a big hand in the garden. A key part of my role is to work closely with my team to ensue that NatWest locally really does deliver helpful banking to heart of the local community. Undertaking volunteer work such as this and our recently launched CommunityForce initiative is part of our ongoing commitment to support the communities where we live and work.
"Our work at St Martin's follows on from us supporting local fire fighters with some fundraising and we are looking to do more. With this in mind, if any local good cause is looking for some support or assistance we would like to know and will happily help where we can."