Having worked in engineering, the surf industry and as Senior Fire Officer at the Goodwood Aerodrome, it is the skills Matthew picked up as a nipper, watching his dad potter about at home and in the garden, that have now given him a brand new career.
“I wanted a change of lifestyle and my previous job didn’t allow for that. Now I can be more involved in family life; I can walk my daughter to school every day, for example,” explained Matthew, 38, as we chatted at his Chichester home.
“We have been here for two years but gradually we’re getting there. I have always renovated my own properties, so I’m mostly self-taught.”
Although he was taking a leap of faith by leaving in his job to set up on his own, Matthew has been pleasantly surprised at the speed at which his new venture has taken off.
“The business has grown rapidly and I’m currently maintaining a twelve-acre plot in Nutbourne and looking after gardens of all sizes; mowing, weeding and keeping everything neat and tidy.
“I’m also looking after a
few carparks for local businesses, and then I’m doing the property maintenance side of things.”
Admitting that being a gardener in summertime is much more of a pleasure than it is a chore, Matthew loves being in the Great Outdoors.
“At this time of year gardening is lovely. I’m hoping the decorating and DIY jobs will take off in the winter when it’s colder, but right now it’s a good feeling to be outside in the sunshine and to see a garden completed and looking good by the end of the day.”
When he’s not working, renovating his house or spending time with the family, Matthew also manages to squeeze in study time for exams that he is taking with The Royal Horticultural Society.
“When I do get time to myself I like to go surfing. I also love being in the garden with my children.
“We have a vegetable plot, which we tend together. It’s important that kids learn that vegetables don’t come from supermarkets.”
As for the future, Matthew hopes to build the business.
“I’d like to be working on properties and green spaces of all sizes. Homes, businesses, holiday lets – I’m looking forward to growing my client list.”
But right now it looks as if his leap of faith has paid off. Busy people need help on the home front and Matthew’s skills are in demand.
“I’m very pleased,” he nodded.
“As well as being able to run my own schedule and do more with the family I also get to meet lots of different people, which I really enjoy.”
Suggesting that working with machinery and tools must carry safety risks, I asked Matthew what he considered to be his biggest occupational hazard.
Laughing, he replied: “Drinking too much tea!”
Matthew undertakes gardening, DIY and small carpentry jobs.
For details visit www.handgmaintenance.co.uk
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