Julia: volunteering for Minstead

I have been a volunteer at Minstead Trust for about five years, mainly involved with fundraising and promotion in the community.

I first got in touch about volunteering because of my love of gardening. I got in touch with Furzey in mind, but once I had met some of the team I realised there was a need that her skills could meet in fundraising and events. I felt that it was better to volunteer where there was a need, rather than with what I was especially interested in. Gradually I have got involved in more and taken on more varied roles/activities.

I volunteer for the people I meet – both other volunteers, staff and the people we support. They are what makes volunteering so worthwhile and a great thing in my life.

I have enjoyed all sorts of different roles, undertaking research, manning stalls, helping with events and, more recently, giving talks in the local area. I have delved in to the fascinating history of Furzey Gardens and produced an illustrated talk which I, along with a fellow volunteer, Diana, give to community groups such as the Inner Wheel, the WI and the U3A.

The talks were going well and we had several booked in through the year, a good way of publicising the work of the Trust as well as raising money. Our last talk was at the beginning of March and then of course lockdown came and since then everything has been postponed.

I am a keen gardener (and allotment holder) and gardening was one thing I have been able to continue with during the pandemic, especially with the fine weather earlier in the year.

The pandemic has been a tough time for everyone, especially for businesses and charities, so when Minstead Trust advertised the 2.6 Challenge fundra+-iser, I decide to raise money for them by growing 26 different types of vegetables and flowers for harvesting this year!

This was definitely therapeutic, choosing what to grow, weeding, planting and enjoying the fresh air and lovely weather and then enjoying the fruits of my labour. I was pleased to raise over £260 for the Trust and have been enjoying home grown salads, vegetables and flowers since March.

Since then, my husband, Mark and I have been making face masks and woodwork items for friends and family in exchange for donations to the Trust. We are now looking forward to when life can return to some kind of normality.

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