Liam is one of our brilliant volunteers in Horatio’s Garden London & South East. He’s 33 and lives in Harrow, which fortunately isn’t too far from Stanmore, where the sanctuary sits at The Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital.“I’ve recently made a pretty big career change to become a Gardener. Before that I worked as a Project Manager, firstly in financial services, then the NHS and most recently in the charity sector.”
In this short interview, Liam shares more about why he gives his time to volunteering with us, how spending time in the garden helps him and what he’s most enjoyed being a part of in Horatio’s Garden so far.
What made you think about giving your time to volunteering?
I had started volunteering more during the pandemic, mainly supporting elderly people in my community, and I really enjoyed it. It was mostly because I found I had spare time whilst working at home and wanted to get to know and support people local to me. Then I started to make quite a big career change, into horticulture, and thought I’d combine my volunteering with learning about gardening, and Horatio’s Garden was the perfect fit.
What made you choose Horatio’s Garden?
It’s great that there are so many options for volunteering near where I live. I chose to volunteer at Horatio’s Garden because it ticks two big boxes for me personally – it allows me to do something good and to help other people, even in a small way, and it also supports my learning and development in my newfound career, gardening.
How often do you volunteer in the garden?
I started volunteering at Horatio’s Garden in October 2021 and have been coming into the garden once every one or two weeks, for a few hours at a time, or sometimes the whole day. I look forward to spring and summer when I’ll be able to spend some long afternoons and evenings in the garden.
What jobs do you enjoy doing?
So far, I’ve only done winter jobs in the garden and I’ve really enjoyed working in the greenhouse. I’ve never had the chance to work in one before, and it’s great to see how many plants and cuttings can thrive even in the colder months – plus it’s nice to work in the warmth of the greenhouse!
How would you describe the garden to anyone who hasn’t seen it?
It’s a very calm and peaceful place, but vibrant at the same time, with colourful garden rooms and an amazing range of beautiful plants and trees.
How do you feel when you come away from the garden after volunteering?
On my first day, while I was replanting some hydrangeas, I had a great chat with a patient about how they missed their garden at home and how nice it was for them to have use of Horatio’s Garden – they were also amazed by the parakeets that come to visit! That left me feeling really energised by how much the garden benefits the patients and I have a similar feeling every time I visit. I’ve already learned a lot about the garden, as well as more about the different plants and the jobs that need to be done to keep everything looking as it should. I’m also really appreciative of the support from other volunteers who give their time and energy to the garden, and from Tracey and Ashley who share their knowledge of the charity and the garden itself.
Feeling inspired to become a volunteer?
We’ll look forward to hearing from you!