Blackpool man swaps pen for the sward with new careers as gardener.

Mark Longden
Mark Longden
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A former civil servant has swapped the office for the open air having realise an ambition to set up his own garden and handyman business after 27 years.

Mark Longden from Bispham had originally trained as a brick layer and completed an apprenticeship before building and construction work ground to a halt in the 1970s recession and he chose to move on to an office role.

But now he has swapped careers with a little bit of guidance from Blackpool Council’s Get Started team.

He said: “Good steady jobs are few and far between and the position that I managed to secure all those years ago was practical, safe and relatively secure with a pension.

“However, I have always wanted to work outdoors and after so many years in the civil service, as well as turning 55 years old, I found myself questioning my career choice and future.

“I had an overwhelming urge to get back to my trade roots and realised that it was now or never.”

Mark was encouraged by neighbours and relatives, whose gardens and homes he helped maintain, to set up his own business while the Get Started team provided a range of advice on matters such as tax rules, company insurance, equipment and finding customers to help him get up and running.

The Get Started service is available for Blackpool residents looking to start a new business. People have access to seminars and a dedicated business advisor to provide guidance. Running alongside existing services a new scheme, ‘You Can Do It’, offers specific support to 18 to 25-year-olds thinking about launching a business.

Now Mark is fulfilling his ambitions through his new business, Longden’s gardening, building and home maintenance service. He added: “I love helping people out, solving their maintenance problems and easing their worries.

“People can get stressed about keeping the garden tidy and maintained, especially when they are getting older and perhaps not as mobile or physically able as they have been.

" I want to offer a service to customers that’s suits their needs and is affordable. I have no regrets swapping dealing with paperwork to being green fingered. I’m now looking forward to a new career that involves good hard graft.”

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