Graham’s family were worried about how he would cope working in a busy environment. To ease their worries they went for a visit with Graham. They were very impressed with what they saw and Graham left looking forward to starting his placement.
His first day at Hill End finally arrived. I am not sure who was more nervous Graham or I – would he like it? Would the other volunteers be friendly? Would he do the jobs assigned to him? Would he become anxious and wish to leave? These and other thoughts swirled around in my head as we walked towards reception. In reception the volunteer co-ordinator greeted us with a big smile and hello. This immediately eased our nerves. We were shown to a garden area overgrown by huge nettles and introduced to another volunteer.
You guessed it Graham’s first job was to cut the nettles down……
Would Graham put on gloves, select pruners and make a start on the nettles? The answer to that was ‘yes’. He followed my lead and was soon in the midst of the nettles chopping them down. By the end of the day Graham, myself and the other volunteer had rid the area of nettles. I was so proud of Graham and all the hard work he had done on his first day of volunteering. The question I wanted answered though was did he wish to come back next week?
A year on and Graham has become a valued member of the volunteer team. He can be seen around the site cutting hedgerows, laying pathways, weeding, cutting the willow around the maze, clearing areas of weeds/saplings, and pond maintenance.
Due to this success story other people supported by No Limits are doing volunteer work at Hill End. They along with Graham are creating a garden area around the polytunnel (shown in the pictures). Last year’s crops included tomatoes, squash, marrows, courgettes and leeks.
Community Learning Facilitator
No Limits Oxfordshire