Thanks a bunch! Orbit customers put unwanted flowers to good use in Norfolk during coronavirus

Two Orbit customers from Norfolk had a blooming good idea during the pandemic – by putting hundreds of unwanted flowers to good use, which would otherwise have been thrown away after a local store had to close due to coronavirus.

At the start of lockdown, because non-essential stores were forced to temporarily close their doors to the public, many perishable items were thrown away.

But, after hearing that their local QD store were handing out free flowers and plants to the community, Nathan (25) and Sacha (22) from Elmhurst Court in Gorleston-on-Sea, saw this as a brilliant opportunity to brighten up their estate.

After discussing the idea with the shop owner, they took the unsellable flowers and plants back to the Elmhurst Court community room, where they enlisted other Orbit residents to help plant them round the estate.

Nathan and Sacha donated the remaining flowers and plants to staff at the James Paget Hospital, where Sacha works as a Healthcare Assistant, as their way of saying thank you to all the NHS staff for their hard work during the coronavirus pandemic.

Nathan and Sacha have been Orbit customers for three and a half years and are well-known for their community work. As well as rescuing neglected plants, Nathan and Sacha also run various community groups, arts and craft activities, have organised jumble sales and clothes swaps, assisted with ‘skip days’ and have completed a charity walk to raise money for St. Johns Ambulance.

Bryony Coleman, Orbit’s Property Manager at Elmhurst Court said: “Nathan and Sacha are extremely well engaged customers, who get involved with lots of community work on the estate, as well as in the local area. They are very generous and caring people who take pride in their community and want to engage others.

“At Orbit, we are committed to making a positive impact on the environment by using materials from sustainable sources. The un-wanted flowers used by Nathan and Sacha are an excellent example of Orbit’s commitment to being more environmentally friendly and creating brighter, greener places for our customers to live. They are a huge asset to both Orbit and the residents at Elmhurst Court.” 

Nigel Binks, Store Manager at Gorleston-on-Sea QD, commented: “Once we learnt that our stores were temporarily closing due to coronavirus, we realised that most of our perishable items would have to be thrown away. To avoid unnecessary waste, we decided to give the left-over flowers and plants to the local community for free and invited the people of Gorleston-on-Sea to come and collect them from our store.

“The up-take was incredible, and we managed to give all of the flowers and plants away, which otherwise would have been thrown in the bin! I am delighted that Nathan and Sacha have put these free flowers to good use and I am pleased that QD played our part in brightening up the local community during lockdown.”

Commenting on their community work, Sacha said: “Once we learnt that QD were giving away free flowers and plants to the community, we were immediately interested. We went straight down and filled our car full of flowers – twice! – and brought them back to the Elmhurst Court community room. We planted some of the flowers in the planters on the estate and the flowers we had left, we donated to the hospital, to say thank you for the amazing work the NHS have been doing during the pandemic, and also to a local care home.”

Nathan added: “We have both been involved in community work at Elmhurst Court for around three years now – and we absolutely love it! Throughout coronavirus we have tried to help our community in any way we can. We have volunteered with the Royal Voluntary Service as a Responder, to help the elderly get their medication during lockdown and we also do volunteer telephone calls to those who are isolating, to reduce loneliness.

“We would like to thank Orbit for the help, support and grants they have given us to help us build a better community.”