A volunteer gardener has transformed the garden at Oak House, our 10 bed residential rehabilitation unit, in Hereford.
Joe worked alongside staff and service users over a 6 month period, to turn the completely bare garden into an oasis of peace and calm.
Joe has written this lovely piece his own personal experience below of being a volunteer at Oak House
Before volunteering as a gardener at Oak House, I had little experience of NHS mental health settings. I was keen to learn more about how mental illness is treated, although I did feel somewhat apprehensive that I would feel uncomfortable in what I had imagined might be an impersonal or sterile environment. My experience at Oak House was the polar opposite. The staff and service users create a warm, friendly, welcoming atmosphere in which I felt very relaxed, which enabled me to enjoy engaging with the gardening project and working alongside everyone. It was especially satisfying to see service users really get into gardening and join together in the project.
All the staff that I came into contact with were extremely supportive of both myself and the gardening project, which gave me great confidence and helped ensure that the project was a success. I would really recommend volunteering in the 2gether trust to anyone considering it, especially at Oak House, as it’s homely and personal environment is truly inspiring.