Well-kept gardens give us all a boost. Helping those who cannot tend their gardens is popular with volunteers and owners, and deters scammers who prey on the elderly and vulnerable.
Two recent projects, backed by Barnes Community Association, FiSH Neighbourhood Care and Friends of Barnes Common, brought together volunteers with people and organisations that needed help. This proved such a success that the initiative will be extended into a programme of regular activity in the New Year.
Most good ideas start small – in this case with Nicki, Elizabeth and Crispin replanting the tubs outside the Barnes Green Centre – the local base for Age UK Richmond and FiSH.
That led to a group of 13 volunteers from FoBC and FiSH, aged 12 to 78, working together to clear FISH clients’ gardens which had become hugely overgrown during lockdown.
“We’re really grateful to FoBC and our regular gardening volunteers”, comments Micky Forster, Director of FISH. “It is lovely to see vulnerable people able to enjoy their gardens once again. We’d love to run further FISH gardening days next year.”
“Barnes has a wonderful group of volunteers who work with Russell on the Green every first Tuesday of the month” — says Nicki Urquhart, Chair of BCA. “I know FoBC has volunteers working on the Common and Leg o’ Mutton most weeks, as well as a thriving community growing scheme at Vine Road Rec. This new initiative, using volunteers interested in gardening and conservation, will increase wellbeing and bring joy to the vulnerable. I see a great future, extending the scheme to other community centres, organisations and many more homes. It’s the Barnes’ community at its very best.”
“No experience is necessary and no regular commitment expected!” — adds Crispin, a FoBC and FISH gardening volunteer “It’s great fun working together outdoors, and so satisfying to make a difference in the community.”
If you know of anyone who might be interested in becoming a Community Gardening Volunteer, please contact Julia Bebington at [email protected].