This National Gardening Week, Tuesday 27th April – Sunday 2nd May, Havens Hospices is calling on those who enjoy gardening and can spare four hours a week to join its Garden Club made up of volunteers who tend six acres of beautiful greenspace at Little Havens in Thundersley and its newly landscaped gardens at Fair Havens in Prittlewell.
Garden Club volunteers play a vital part in day-to-day running of the charity which provides palliative nursing and supportive care to children, young people, adults and their families, living with complex or incurable conditions. They are integral in helping to maintain the gardens so they offer a welcome and relaxing environment for patients, families, visitors, staff and volunteers.
With the recent lockdown restrictions easing, families have been visiting and enjoying the Little Havens gardens thanks to the volunteers who have been helping to keep them tidy and maintained. Alyssa, 10 is cared for by Little Havens and recently came to visit the gardens for an afternoon with her mum Lynette and her brother Ethan.
Lynette describes how the gardens and the play equipment at the hospice bring them so much joy: “We love going to Little Havens. I am finding now that Alyssa gets older and bigger it is so much harder to find play equipment suitable for Alyssa in our local area.
“But in the gardens at Little Havens there is lots of play equipment that is wheelchair accessible which is amazing so it means Ethan and Alyssa can enjoy the facilities together. It’s also a beautiful space, Alyssa loves looking at the trees and colours. As the visit to Little Havens was booked I didn’t have to worry about the play equipment being busy either.
“To be able to go somewhere that has the equipment that Alyssa can use and play along with her brother is amazing.”
Faye Kadesh, Volunteer Services Manager at Havens Hospices says: “It’s because of the volunteers who work hard in the hospice gardens that families are able to get outside, have fun and spend some quality time together.
“Our hospice care can only exist because of the support and generosity of our volunteers including those in our Garden Club – their amazing work is crucial so we can continue to provide our hospice care we can’t thank them enough.
“Volunteering is an ideal way to share the skills you have or learn new ones. Not only is it diverse and rewarding, but by playing a role in the local community, volunteering can become a fulfilling part of people’s lives and lead to new opportunities and friendships.
“Not only is gardening good for your wellbeing but evidence also suggests that volunteering has a positive impact on health and wellbeing. Whether you can offer a spare hour or ten hours a week, it all makes a huge difference to hospice.”
Some of the duties the Garden Club Volunteers help undertake include weeding, planting, pruning, tidying, watering plants and the vegetable patch, and assisting with keeping the gardens and paths tidy. Volunteers will need good communication and listening skills, have a cheerful manner and be able to work within a team. Volunteers will need to be reasonably fit, happy to work outside in varying weathers and have some experience in gardening.
To find out how to play a vital role in helping ‘Making every day count’ for the people the hospice cares for, visit www.havenshospices.org.uk/volunteering/apply-to-volunteer or call Volunteer Services on 01702 426237.
Published 28th April 2021