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Community rebuilds Winnie’s faith in human nature

26 June 2015

When the wall outside Winnie Moon’s beloved home was knocked down by vandals, it caused her a lot of worry and distress. But when the community rallied round, it wasn’t just the wall that was repaired…

Winnie-Moon-192 year old Winnie has lived in her home in the New Parks Estate in Leicester, for many years and keeps the house and garden immaculate. A few years ago the wall surrounding her property was knocked down; and although it was reported to police, the offender was never apprehended.

Soon afterwards Winnie won a little money and had the wall rebuilt, but again the wall was knocked and again the offender was not apprehended. This time Winnie didn’t have the funds to rebuild the wall and over the past year more and more of it was been knocked down, causing Winnie a lot of anxiety.

It was at this point Police Community Support Officer Gillian Edwards stepped in. “I wanted to get the wall rebuilt to lift Winnie’s spirits and encourage her to get out more. Winnie has suffered the loss of two very important people recently and the anxiety of the vandalism to the wall has added to her stress. Living in fear of anti-social behaviour is very scary for older and vulnerable people.”

Gillian then contacted Sean Lynch, CEO & Founder of Vocational Training Enterprise Centre (VTEC), an organisation that provides training in construction to unemployed people, ex-offenders, those at risk of re-offending and those who struggle in mainstream school. Many of VTEC learners are from the New Parks Estate in Leicester.

Sean explains: “Some of our learners have committed crimes in the past, for various reasons and at different levels. When I first mentioned the possibility of the rebuild to my learners, they were all keen to participate and took it upon themselves to project manage it from start to finish.”

The project was supported by funding from our Awards for All programme, Travis Perkins Swan Street donated all materials and Winnie promised to make all the VTEC team tea and cake. Within three days the wall was finished.

Winnie-Moon-3VTEC learner John revealed: “I’ve spent over 10 years living on the streets and this rebuild has given me an incentive to do other things in life. Nobody knows when they may need help for whatever reason. If you can make a change to someone’s life its worth more than money, believe me.”

VTEC learner Mr Patel agreed: “This is the best choice I have ever made. The training has given me a new lease of life and opened many doors in a career I wish to pursue.”

Sean added: “I am so proud of them all. Who would have thought that a brick wall can bring a community together, putting smiles back onto people’s faces, changing people’s lives?”

And how is Winnie feeling now? “I just can’t believe it, how good some people can be. I never expected this; it’s given me back my faith in human nature.”

If you want to find out more about the Vocational Training Enterprise Centre (VTEC), visit www.vtec-leics.co.uk

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