St Mary’s Secret Garden has a wonderful volunteer base of people who assist us in providing therapeutic care services and support us in working with groups as part of our training programmes. We work formally and informally in partnership with many community organisations and often receive the support of volunteers through these local working relationships. Where funding allows, we provide volunteers with training to fit their needs and the needs of the garden.
Our volunteers come from all walks of life, are all ages and give their time in many ways – our current oldest volunteer is around 76 years old but she certainly knows her gardening!
Many of our volunteers gain skills, confidence and experience at the garden to enable them to find employment and other training opportunities.
Some of our volunteers:
Ita was involved in the original ground clearing project that setup St Mary’s and has been coming back ever since. Having been brought up on a farm in Ireland she could not wait to return to a “back to roots” horticultural lifestyle after a career in teaching. She enjoys planning and running weekly garden classes with disadvantaged clients. Ita says “Thursday’s, my day at St Mary’s is one of my favourite day of the week. I get such satisfaction from watching people and plants grow side by side. I definitely get as much out of volunteering as I put in even after all these years!”
Julia has been volunteering at the garden for over 5 years now. She literally discovered the garden when she took a wrong turn one morning but has been coming regularly ever since! A natural leader, Julia has been involved in digging the pond, planting wild flowers and supporting the delivery of gardening courses for local residents. She enjoys the opportunity to be outside in the fresh air and get some exercise in a friendly environment.