THE Prime Minister has singled out a Swindon social enterprise for special recognition of its work to support people with mental health problems in the community.

The Local Enterprise And Vocational Employment Schemes which provides people with opportunities for fulfilling paid work in the local area, has been recognised by PM David Cameron with a Big Society Award.

Four trained supervisors experienced in employment and mental health matters have helped more than 30 people to find work that supports them in building their confidence, self esteem, personal and financial independence.

The jobs, which include roles in conservation projects, recycling collections and a gardening service often also have a benefit for the local community.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “LEAVES provides an invaluable service supporting people who have battled mental health problems to take an important step into paid work.

“This Big Society Award recognises the achievements and commitment of everyone at LEAVES. I hope they continue to grow and reach even more people.”

LEAVES has built a strong working relationship with Swindon Council over ten years and has provided a range of services in that time such as recycling collections, bulky waste collections, woodland conservation as well as making a major contribution in the mental health arena.

Swindon Council also supplies LEAVES with raw materials including compost, woodchip and logs which are then bagged and sold in the local community – creating more work opportunities.

LEAVES chairman Bob Astbury said: “I am proud that this award recognises the achievements of the members of LEAVES.

“This is not just for their resilience in fighting one of the most debilitating and yet least understood illnesses found in modern society.

“We also engage in meaningful work that in itself makes its own contribution to society – from our subsidised gardening service for the elderly and infirm through to local infrastructure improvements, assisting in increasing the volume of recyclable waste and other sustainable outcomes in Swindon.

“We hope the publicity associated with this award will help to inspire people in other areas.

“We therefore extend an open invitation to similar organisations to come and see how we go about our work as we are confident that we can also learn from their experiences.”

The award comes as LEAVES announce a new estate management contract with the Woodland Trust, which will give more work and training opportunities for LEAVES clients.