In March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic began to take hold across the globe. Up until this point, I was enjoying life as a Restaurant and Events Manager in New York City. I had been living in NYC for 2 years, after upping sticks and following my passion for the hospitality industry in 2018. At 21, I packed my life up here in the UK, and moved to a city where I knew nobody and hadn't even visited before, in an attempt to make a successful career in the restaurant trade.
On March 5th 2020, my Grandad sadly passed away, so I immediately searched for flights back home to England. I booked my flight back on Friday 13th March, planning to return to the States 3 days later after the funeral which was held on Monday 16th.
This also happened to be the same weekend that coronavirus began to take hold in the UK. Flight restrictions were put in place the day after I returned home, meaning I was not able to fly back due to my temporary resident status. 10 months later, these restrictions are still in place, and I've had to adapt to the current situation.
Unfortunately, there is little to no opportunity to work from home in the restaurant/events industry, particulalry when it was impacted so heavily by the virus. As a result, I lost my job and source of income shortly after returning home. My immigration status meant I wasn't eligble for any form of government support in the US, and likewise after being out of the country back in the UK, I also wasn't eligible for any support over here either.
As spring lead into summer, any hopes of heading back to the States and returning to some form of normality seemed less and less likely. This was a particular low point for me during 2020, as all the hard work and energy put into relocating, my lengthy visa application and securing my dream job seemed to be wasted.
I've never been the type to sit around all day, as my close friends and family would tell you, I have to always be working on some kind of project. In August 2020 I had a lightbulb moment and began researching how to set up a garden maintenance business in the local area. A job that is perfectly COVID safe as it's always outside and working alone means I don't need to come into close contact with anyone else.
My Grandparents have always been avid gardeners, and I spent a great deal of my childhood and teenage years helping in the garden and learning from them. Teaming these skills with my natural practical abilities, garden maintenance seemed like an enterprising idea.
I spent a day putting a website together, creating a facebook page and designing a few leaflets to see if I would be able to drum up any interest. To my surprise, I received a message the very next day for a garden tidy up in a village just outside of Grantham. The business took off from that point, with just a small amount of advertising and a write-up in the local paper helping me to get on my feet.
As my client base grew, I noticed I had a few elderly clientele who were self-isolating or whose family did not live close by. Without realising, I had been, and continue to provide a service much more valuable than garden maintenance... providing companionship. Even if this is simply a short conversation through the window whilst I work outside, to some this may be the only human contact they have all week in the current climate.
I have spent the last few months growing the business through my online presence and word of mouth. I've expanded the range of services I offer and picked up a few new tools along the way.
I'm now at a point of being able to offer somone full time employment, but I need your help to take that next step...
As we are in the midst of our third lockdown, normality still seems a long way away. I do hope to one day return to the States, but for now I must focus my attention and efforts on something else.
I'm ready to grow my gardening business and take things to the next level, and kindly ask for your help to do so. Being able to tackle larger jobs means I'm in need of a few new tools, which are a fairly large expense when you're just setting out.
I'm hoping to reach a target of £1500, which would allow me to invest in some new equipment to help me succeed. With your kindness and generosity, £1500 could help pay for;
- Ride on Lawnmower to tackle larger gardens in the summer season (£600)
- Car Trailer to transport tools and equipment (£500)
- Leaf blower (£150)
- Chainsaw (£150)
- Hedge Trimmer (£100)
I'd love to be able to continue providing company and comfort to those feeling alone and isolated, whilst keeping their gardens in shape too!
Thankyou for taking the time to read my story and visit my page. Of course I understand times are extremely difficult at the moment, so any donation no matter how small is greatly appreciated.