In 2019, the 57-year-old had given up his job as a groundsman with Telford & Wrekin Council, which he had done for the 12 years, to change career driving around Europe and the UK delivering bespoke racing engines with his son, Sam.
However, the work dried up when the pandemic struck back in March, with Vince wondering how he and his wife Maria, a care nurse assistant at County Hospital in Stafford, were going to be able to stay in their home at Weston-under-Lizard on the Shropshire/Staffordshire border.
Vince turned his hand to odd jobs around Bradford Estates, where he rents his home, to subsidise his monthly payments but he can now breathe easier after being offered a full time position by the organisation.
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“Things were going well and it was a job I loved,” said Vince.
“I had taken the plunge, thinking I’m not going to get any younger and the time was now for me to change career. I travelled everywhere, Germany, France, Sweden, and it was just brilliant.
“But when lockdown happened of course I had to stop almost immediately.”
Vince and his three children Sarah, 20, Sam, 21, and Jake, 25, were left dependent on Maria’s wages.
“It wasn’t enough for us to be able to stay in our current home,” said Vince.
“It was hard to see Maria go and work on the frontline everyday while I was unable to work. She wanted to take on more shifts, but it was so mentally and physically draining for her already that I wanted to avoid that.”
As soon as the estates were contacted by the Derry family it worked to find a solution to help them.
Vince said: “With my background as a grounds keeper, the estates management offered me the opportunity to do some work on a freelance basis.
“This allowed me to pay off some of the rent each month, which was a real help. It is work I can do and enjoy doing, so I was delighted.”
Since then, the estates have recognised Vince’s talent and the need for a full time groundsman.
“I was over the moon when the team asked if I’d like to join them full time,” Vince added.
“With the winter approaching, and the uncertainty of a second wave of Covid and further restrictions, I was really worried about what the future held, so this has come at just the best time.
“We’re so grateful for all of Bradford Estates’ support – this year has been so difficult, and without the team’s help, I don’t know where my family would be now.”
Alexander Newport, managing director of Bradford Estates, said: “A number of our tenants had different difficulties to contend with throughout the pandemic and we worked with them on a case-by-case basis to make sure we were helping wherever possible.
“The estates is a community and we always look out for each other – and this year especially, whether it was checking in with vulnerable tenants over the phone or getting creative to help out tenants like Vince and his family.
“Vince proved to be an invaluable asset to the team here at the estates and I’m delighted he’s accepted our offer of employment on a full time basis.”