Where do you volunteer and what do you do?
In the village where I live. I help maintain and develop community open space, which includes a community park and 3 small playgrounds. I maintain roadside planters and pick up litter.
Why did you start/why do you do it?
I started and have continued to do it because I am passionate about creating and maintaining open space for people in the village to enjoy. Originally I got involved in the design and development of the community park (called the Daffodil Field) which was built from scratch on what was a farmer’s field. I couldn’t leave it alone after that because I wanted it to be an open space which people of all ages in the village could enjoy. Other than some grass mowing the Council can’t afford to maintain the park so volunteers have taken on this role.
How do you manage your time between volunteering and work?
Generally, I volunteer in the evenings and at weekends or on the days I do not work at VAS. That’s not so easy when the nights draw in - I was planting tulips with the help of a head torch last week! There have been some occasions when I have taken annual leave from work to do something specific in relation to my volunteering role – eg the delivery of some saplings to the park and the installation of a war memorial!
What do you enjoy about it?
I love being outside, and I enjoy gardening and horticulture so the role is perfect! Also, it is a great antidote to work – doing something physical with other people in a lovely natural environment is a great de-stresser! Finally, my dog comes along too although sometimes he digs in the wrong place!
What would you say to someone who was considering volunteering?
Everyone can make a positive difference by making time for volunteering and it is really rewarding for you, too. You can make new friends and learn new skills.