Darren really enjoys being outside. He loves maintaining and looking after his garden and when it became obvious that his next door neighbour was struggling to keep on top of his garden and wasn’t making the best use of his outside space Darren offered his help. With a bit of hard work he got it looking like a garden again, and now the neighbour has a nice open-plan space for his children to play in.

Darren said: “When I met with my neighbourhood coach, Sinead, I mentioned that I’d taken on the neighbour’s garden and got it looking nice again. I told her how I like getting stuck in and said I’d thought about maybe starting up a side-line gardening business is my spare time. Sinead suggested applying for a YouCan grant and mentioned that I could get up to £300 to help pay for garden tools and equipment if I was serious about the business and helping the community. She said this would be a good help to kick-start the business.




The online application process was really easy, even for a technophobe like me and I received the grant quicker than I expected. I already had a petrol lawnmower and a few tools so I used the grant to buy a bush cutter and some hedge cutters (long reach and normal ones).

“Once I received the new tools I told Sinead and she set about linking me up with potential clients in the local community who needed help. Within a few days I had some customers and got to work helping them restore their gardens. Some of the gardens I worked on were very overgrown so it’s nice being able to help out and offer an affordable service that helps bring them back to their former glory. One of the best things about starting this project is spending time chatting to my neighbours and having a laugh with them. I could chat all day once I’m done gardening.”

When we asked Darren if he would recommend YouCan he said: “If you think you have an idea for a project that could help the community I’d suggest you apply for the grant to help get your ideas off the ground. What’s the worst that could happen ay? You could be like me soon with your fancy new tools, and having a laugh doing something you enjoy.”

If Darren’s story has inspired you, why not apply for your own YouCan grant here.

If you would like to help ensure that future community projects have the chance to get off the ground, please click on the link below to donate YouCan. Anything you can spare will be very much appreciated.