We celebrated #UKCharityWeek at the beginning of the month and so it seems only right to say a very big thank you to all our volunteers and supporters.
The garden is here for our volunteers who work tirelessly to maintain and develop it. We have nearly 70 volunteers who work in the garden, in our entrance kiosk and shop, painting and decorating, leading garden tours, and much, much more. It exists because of them – there are no full-time staff gardeners. Indeed we have only two full-time staff plus two part-time volunteer coordinators.
Everyone works their socks off and together form a brilliant team. An old African proverb that a dear friend introduced me to is if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go further, go together. I think it perfectly encapsulates what we are all working towards here. A place where everyone who visits is restored in some small way. A place to relax, to spend time slowly, to enjoy colour, to dream, to just be, as much as a place to garden, to meet people, to learn and to eat cake.
The other group who are vital to our survival are our Friends and supporters. In the first lockdown thy dug deep into their pockets and their hearts and ensured that our gates didn’t close forever. We were able to survive because of their generosity and it is both exhilarating and humbling. I did not know the garden meant so much to so many.
As a team, we can and are doing so much. Our therapeutic horticulture programme continues to grow. We are developing and replanting various parts of the garden and our Orchid House is being renovated as I write. My office is next door to and through the skylight I can see the builders working. They are using a hand sander that has a high-pitched whine strongly resembling the sound of the dentists drill. I keep expecting someone to say, ‘ok that’s great, now rinse’.
As we come to the end of the year and look forward to 2022, I would send heartfelt thanks to our volunteers and our supporters. Have a peaceful and happy Christmas and hopefully a saner 2022. We couldn’t do this without you.