I was the Tŷ Hafan Penarth fundraiser 22 years ago and held many fundraising events for Tŷ Hafan. The charity has always been very close to my heart and in my last job before I retired, I worked as the Children's Epilepsy Nurse for Cardiff and Vale NHS. Many of our lovely children attended Tŷ Hafan and I built up a close relationship with many of the nursing staff.
Tŷ Hafan is an amazing place, a safe haven for children and families and I am proud to still be helping out in a small way in the gardens. For children and parents to be able to access the gardens is important for their well-being. I love trying to keep the gardens weed-free and tidy and we now have a lovely group of keen volunteers who feel the same. We communicate with each other on WhatsApp, posting pictures of what projects we are doing.
We bring many plants in which have been donated by friends and family.
I have an allotment in Penarth and several tools have been donated to us to be recycled in caring for the gardens. Gardening is a very rewarding way to feel we are helping and does not feel like work at all.
Thank you for letting me be a volunteer gardener!
I volunteer because I enjoy gardening and it is great to be able to make the gardens at Tŷ Hafan a peaceful and enjoyable place for the children and families who use the hospice, and for the staff working there. It is a great way to be able to enjoy the company of other volunteers who have similar interests.
The garden has a great variety of plants growing that encourage wildlife to visit. This has been enhanced with the clearing of beds which encourages the growth of plants and we have been able to share plants from our own gardens. Instead of throwing out plants that have been thinned out in our gardens, we have a place to share them for the enjoyment of others.
I sadly experienced a number of close family bereavements towards the end of last year, and in March of this year, I made the decision to finish my 37-year career early. I came to the conclusion that life was just too short and felt that I wanted to spend my time involved in less stressful, more rewarding work. I remember typing into Google the words volunteering and gardening and up came the application for Tŷ Hafan!
I am passionate about gardening, from tending my own space, to visiting RHS Flower shows and catching up with Monty Don on Gardeners' World!! It is the fact that you can made a difference to an area in a short period of time that I find exciting. It is also such a pleasure working with like-minded people, sharing our enthusiasm and exchanging horticultural tips as we watch the gardens blossom!
There is nothing more beautiful and peaceful than being in a garden or an open space, the sights, sounds and smells are infectious. You cannot help but appreciate the value of green spaces and the effect they can have on your wellbeing.
In my short time at Tŷ Hafan, I have brought in cuttings from my own garden and once my neighbours and friends discovered that I had started working there, they too have been supplying me with their excess propagated plants and cuttings. I have also managed to re-use some of my late Dad’s gardening tools.
I really enjoy the friendship and doing something worthwhile. It is a pleasure to come along to Tŷ Hafan in the lovely quiet surroundings and work outside.
I think we need to take care of the environment for others to enjoy in the future.
It is really lovely that we always get a lot of thanks and positive comments when we are gardening at Tŷ Hafan. It is very satisfying to see the progress we have made even if there is still lots more to do.
Having retired from paid work having a volunteer role gives me a sense of belonging, a routine and purpose. It also gives me a feeling of making a contribution and being valued. We might not get paid but as volunteers we know we do a worthwhile job that is appreciated. Giving our time is just as valuable to Tŷ Hafan as giving money or goods.
When gardens are tidy with bright and cheerful shrubs and plants it shows we care about our environment. It also lifts our spirits to see a garden that looks loved. At the hospice, as well as the medical and social care the families receive, caring for the gardens tells the families we care for their whole wellbeing and enjoyment of life and want to help contribute to the support of those living perhaps with more difficult circumstances.
Yes we do indeed. The green garden waste we produce is set aside to return back to compost in the wooded areas of the garden. We divide and replant the perennial plants to fill in gaps in the borders and the gardeners have been busy swapping and sharing cuttings from our own gardens. We have also received donations of spare gardening tools and plants / shrubs from friends and from the local Reuse and Recycling Facebook site.