Jim, one of our volunteer gardeners, has been using his skills and experience of garden management to benefit our patients for years. Here, Jim tell us how the volunteer gardening group came to be.

Some years ago as a previous Rotarian my Club was approached to help fund improvements to the garden at the former hospice in Roath. Many new floral features were added, and a good working relationship developed with the Chief Executive. The hospice was about to move to its present location, and needed a design for the garden at the rear of the new premises. It was at this stage I decided to volunteer my considerable horticultural and landscape design skills to assist. I have spent over 50 years in various capacities developing my skills in this profession. This offer was readily accepted by the trustees, and we set about constructing the garden we have today. Supervising the project, seeing it develop inspired me to become a permanent volunteer, for its future maintenance, as I liked the objectives of hospice care.

A team of gardeners was formed, 12 in number who contributed their time every Thursday morning for a few hours.  Faces have changed over the years due to illness, and sadly bereavement. I’ve perhaps learned some counseling skills in conjunction with the team to help with members in times of difficulty, as we are a close knit group.  Passionate about what we do, to support each other, and keep the garden in pristine condition for the benefits of patients and staff. I consider this supports the ethos and objectives of the care, and support offered to day care and outreach patients, who enjoy the garden for quiet reflection and personal enjoyment.

Meeting a group of like minded gardeners, and passing on my skills is important to me, and I hope they enjoy the same experience every week, and socially on other occasions. I have also developed important relationships with the various sponsors and staff who have become involved in the garden, also last year’s Cardiff show horticultural project.  This gave me personal pride to see public support, and also to see the hospice promoted to so many people.

I would say to anyone wishing to volunteer, that it gives you a personal objective and satisfaction, especially if retired, and looking for a new venture. Although busy with many other interests my time spent on Thursday mornings is closely guarded, enjoyed immensely, with others and at other periods when required. Should you have any doubts, give it a try, get in touch and I feel you will derive the immense benefits with no regrets.

If you're interested in volunteering with us, check out our current volunteer opportunities.