I have always been a keen gardener.
I have volunteered with different charities over the years but always got particular pleasure from seeing others enjoy learning about gardening.
Greenfingers is a fantastic oasis where I work alongside service users who need encouragement and maybe some advice to get the most out of their day.
I love to see the progress the users make and the skills they learn. There is a friendly welcome for everyone and we always have fun.
I have a background in horticulture/running community projects and have worked in the charitable sector for the last 24 years, supporting adults with mental health issues and learning difficulties to live the life they choose.
I am passionate about enabling individuals to fulfil their potential including gaining mainstream employment.
I love to see people grow their skills and confidence and I am excited to be supporting the project with their delivery of NVQ training.
volunteer bid writer
Michael was previously chair and trustee of Basingstoke Mencap. He has now stepped down as chair however continues to support the charity as a volunteer bid writer.
“I took the opportunity to volunteer as a trustee of Basingstoke Mencap because I think that people who have learning disabilities need a chance to have a good life. I particularly enjoyed helping at the May Club on Mondays because I could chat to people and find out about their interests and what they needed in life. It was good to see them having fun and meeting up with their friends. I also enjoyed helping people who were attending Greenfingers and hearing about what they enjoyed at the project. I have enjoyed being a volunteer and am now assisting with writing bids for grants to support the projects.
So, it is possible to volunteer in a background role or, as I did, go along to some of the clubs and get to know people who have learning disabilities. People who have learning disabilities are very friendly and like to chat.”
volunteer office administrator
I have volunteered at Greenfingers for over a year.
Previously I was a medical secretary in an NHS learning disabilities community team and I now work in the office and answer the phone.
I decided to volunteer to help others but benefit so much myself. Everyone who comes to Greenfingers wants to be there – staff, volunteers and the adults with learning disabilities that attend are all happy working, chatting, having lunch together. The people there are very kind and compassionate. It is a lovely atmosphere and I feel calm and happy there. I like being able to help wherever needed.
In the darkest months, it has been surprising to me that there is still work to do on the allotments and it has helped me look forward to springtime. I care for my youngest son who is 26, autistic, severely anxious and has an eating disorder, and getting out of the house and doing something different recharges my batteries.
After changing careers in 2000, I got a job as a gardener in the grounds team of a boarding school. I worked there for 6 years. I then went self employed with a colleague as a maintenance gardener for the next 10 years. I left the partnership in 2016, as my mother developed dementia and I helped my sister look after her. I missed my job very much and after coming to a plant sale at Greenfingers, I started to volunteer there in April 2017.
I love coming to the project, meeting new friends, seeing the people that come there really enjoying the work and getting so much out of it, and laughing a lot.
I’m a keen gardener and recently retired teacher.
Over Covid I decided I would like to volunteer and after enquiring about a couple of positions, I arrived at Greenfingers.
From the word go I was impressed by project: everyone is very friendly and welcoming; the scale of the allotment is impressive; and the work is varied and interesting. I have learnt a lot about gardening, made some good friends and hopefully contributed to this fantastic project.
Gardening, conversation, exercise and plenty of tea and coffee, a pretty perfect day!
Happily retired since 2011. Before that I worked for an international paper company for over 40 years as a customer services manager. My main job was working between the business and the I.T. department to make sure they understood each other!
This involved many I.T. projects across the business, figuring out new working practices and developing / delivering training to the customer services teams across Europe. I was very lucky to be surrounded by a wonderful team of people who did most of the work!
My life away from work included being a founder member of the Horseshoe Theatre Company and being involved in the early years of setting up Cafe Dome. I also enjoy gardening, swimming and of course…horse riding!