Nick is outside wearing gloves and holding gardening tools

Nick’s volunteer story

Published on: 06/06/24



Nick is on the fantastic team of volunteer gardeners who keep The Children’s Trust site blooming for the families we support to enjoy.

I am a volunteer gardening assistant tending to the borders, beds, lawns and hedges on The Children’s Trust national specialist centre site in Surrey.

A typical day

I live locally so it’s a quick drive to Tadworth, where I try to arrive by 9am. I walk through the grounds to the gardening sheds where I meet Sarah, the senior gardener, or find a note telling me where I’m working and what tools I need to take from the shed.

After an energetic hour it’s time for a cuppa with the rest of the gardening team, putting the world to rights.

We then head back out for a couple of hours trimming, cutting back, strimming, leaf blowing, mowing, weeding, mulching and planting.

I normally leave around lunchtime and head home to walk my dogs.

Why I volunteer

My travel business failed post Covid which meant I retired earlier than I was planning. A family friend already worked at The Children’s Trust and knew of my interest in gardening; she cleverly planted a seed by sending me some information about volunteering and the rest is history.

I love the outdoor lifestyle and enjoy the company of a small but dedicated team of gardeners. I like the ethos of The Children’s Trust and it has made me realise how lucky I am to have three healthy daughters and a lovely granddaughter.

I have learnt that weeds grow as quickly on a 24-acre site as they do in your garden! That fresh coffee and cake is also a major incentive to work hard in the garden, and that driving a tractor isn’t as easy as it looks!

If someone is thinking about volunteering, I would say just do it. It’s a thoroughly rewarding experience and you never stop learning.

Seeing both staff and children enjoying a stroll around the gardens makes you feel you are making a positive contribution to their mental wellbeing.