Meet Lauren. She regularly lends her time volunteering in Horatio’s Garden London & South East, supporting patients spending time in the sanctuary however she can. She’s previously taught English as a Foreign Language and has also been involved in company administration, whilst more recently she’s worked in Project Management for the British Council managing educational exchange programmes.

Lauren in Greenhouse Lauren Volunteering in Greenhouse

As someone who’s passionate about learning (particularly when it comes to languages, Latin dance and music) Lauren’s time in the garden has not only enabled her to acquire plenty of new skills, it’s also meant she’s been able to share her talents and knowledge with everyone in Horatio’s Garden. Whilst she might be a recent convert to running, Lauren also enjoys taking a moment to appreciate the little things in life, something perfectly encapsulated in her sketches of some of her favourite spring plants currently thriving in the haven.

Lauren's Flower Sketch Lauren's Snowdrop Sketch Iris Sketch by Lauren

In this short interview, Lauren mentions more about what drew her to joining our wonderful community of volunteers and the things she loves about Horatio’s Garden.


What made you think about giving you time to volunteering?

I wanted to get involved with a local organisation where I could contribute something worthwhile, as well as meet new people and learn some new skills. I was also particularly interested in volunteering in an outdoor environment and doing something nature related.

What made you choose Horatio’s Garden?

I considered a few options, including some local conservation projects. Horatio’s Garden particularly appealed to me because of the therapeutic nature of the garden for patients. Having very recently come to gardening, I’ve discovered for myself how being in the garden can be very therapeutic and I loved the idea of being involved with an organisation that brings the benefits of nature to patients at what may be a life-changing, challenging or critical time for them. I also liked the fact that as a volunteer, I would have the opportunity to get involved with different aspects of the charity, from gardening to patient interaction and patientcentred activities.

How often do you volunteer in the garden?

I come in once a week. I don’t have a set day that I volunteer, and I enjoy the fact that I get to work alongside lots of different volunteers by coming in on different days of the week.

What jobs do you enjoy doing?

I enjoy doing different jobs around the garden and particularly enjoyed planting bulbs for spring, as well as potting on cuttings and plants in the greenhouse. Its lovely to see the spring flowers starting to appear in the garden. It’s also fun to get involved in helping out with activities such as the recent RSPB winter birdwatch and other events. Even when doing the simplest jobs like clearing leaves or cleaning the garden pods, it’s always enjoyable to be in the garden, interact with other volunteers and patients, and see what’s going on in the garden.

How would you describe the garden to anyone who hasn’t seen it?

A beautiful space, where there’s always interesting things to enjoy both in the planting and the wildlife. The garden brings a sense of peace and cheer and is a haven for patients.

How do you feel when you come away from the garden after volunteering?

I often come away from the garden feeling lifted. While I’m volunteering, it’s a time for me to be away from other aspects of life, somewhere I’m able to be present and connected with what’s happening in the garden, interact with the team and patients. That’s of great benefit to me. I also come away with a sense of achievement from being part of the team and contributing to the garden.

What has surprised you the most about your experiences so far? 

While I imagined it might take some time to settle in as a volunteer, I felt at home immediately. This is testament to Ashley and Tracey, who are always so friendly and generous with their time. They’ve created a very welcoming and inclusive environment, and there is a lovely team of volunteers. I’ve also been impressed by the opportunities for volunteers’ development, including gardening workshops and the possibility to get involved in different activities. Ashley takes time to point out new things in the garden or teach volunteers something new, and it’s been inspiring and fun to learn some of Tracey’s craft activities for patients.

Feeling inspired to become a volunteer?

To find out more about joining one of our friendly teams please click here,
or email to register your interest.

We’ll look forward to hearing from you!