Like many businesses, YGS will be breathing a grateful sigh of relief with the close of the year: an overall feeling of ‘we made it’ and ‘look how far we’ve come’.

And these statements do ring true! Not only did we make it, but we did really well! 2021 has been a hoot of a year, a plethora of successes and a brilliant foundation for 2022, emerging from the aftermath of the pandemic.

Our biggest accolade of the year, and one that we are not only proud of but humbled by, is winning a Principal Award at the BALI Awards 2021. We entered our Green Wall in Sherford for the category Living Wall (Exterior) and came away as not only an award winner, but a principal award winner, presented to us at a ceremony in London in December. We have been members of BALI for 40 years, yet this is the first time we entered the awards, and boy, are we glad we did!

Moving on, as proud sponsors of Building Plymouth, our MD jumped at the opportunity to be involved in an industry-wide collaboration: Road to Mayflower. Headed up by Emma Hewitt of Plymouth City Council, this was an ambitious project that aimed to raise the profile of the city and champion the construction industry in line with the 2020 Mayflower400 commemorations. Completing all three projects including the Polish Bridge, the Art Panels and of course, the Mayflower Forest was a huge feat for the city and for the group. The Road to Mayflower company also went on to win an award for Corporate Social Responsibility at PlymouthLive Business Awards and was also a finalist in the Western Morning News Business Awards.

Talking more Road to Mayflower, YGS were particularly proud of the Mayflower Forest with which they had huge involvement. We implemented our first ever wildflower meadow of its scale and significance. The feedback we had from the city was astounding. We were also shocked at the beauty and radiance of this rainbow carpet which we brought to the city, a jewel in the crown of the Road to Mayflower projects. YGS will now continue 2 years of maintenance, free of charge, to the Marsh Mills Mayflower Forest, including reviving the wildflower meadow, ready for its brilliance to shine once again from Spring into late September next year.

YGS has ambitions to grow as a company and as a group, under the top company ‘Your Greener Solutions’. We added another string to our bow this year with the successful launch of sister company YGS Environmental Consultants, headed up by Adam King. This company has already had huge success, picking up a number of prestigious projects across the city. We’re thrilled to be operating as a company that can offer a service from initial design to final bloom, through consulting to landscape installation and maintenance. Twinned with this, we rebranded! YGS has had many looks over the 40 years that we have been trading but we’re really proud of this one. Our latest brands reflects the professionalism of our company and the strength we feel in pushing forward with our aspirations for a successful future.

In 2021, we introduced a new ‘Employee of the Month’ scheme under the banner ‘You’re Going Somewhere!’. We value our staff and wanted to give something back by announcing one special mention each month. This has been greatly received amongst the team and we now have a wall of fame for those who have especially impressed!

This year hasn’t been any different in terms of our commitment to engagement and outreach. In the summer, a mother reached out to the Sherford Consortium to ask for a helping hand. She didn’t have a garden suitable for her three-year-old terminally-ill little girl. The Consortium reached out to its partners for assistance and of course, Steve Warren-Brown was front of the queue to help out! He organised local suppliers and donated labour in kind to deliver a garden for three-year-old Rubyleigh that was safe, bright and accessible. And turned it around in a week!

Furthermore, we formed links with Men’s Shed, an initiative supported by Plymouth Community Homes. Men’s Shed is a space for craftwork and social interaction, helping men stay in touch especially during the pandemic. Individuals deliver small-scale community projects with their spare time. YGS have pledged to donate surplus timber/ materials to the project to support this programme.

Last but not least, we launched one of our most exciting projects to date: My Wacky Forest™! Based on Dr Akira Miyawaki’s micro forest model, we plan to put a micro forest into every school in Plymouth, accompanied by an educational pack to raise environmental awareness and inform the next generation. In 2022 you’ll meet Mushi and his friends… but more to come on this in the new year! Watch this space!

And finally, some further news in numbers for the year: 14 new members of staff; 7 promotions, 2 YGS babies born (and one imminent!), work reaching from Falmouth, to Taunton, to Bude and… over 10,000 trees planted! A triumphant year for YGS, growing the company and growing its staff and reputation. So, thankyou to all of our clients, to everyone we have worked with in 2021, and of course to our ever growing team. We look forward to strengthening relationships in 2022 and beyond.