Meet Caroline

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March 21, 2023
3 min
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What led you to volunteering with Bridewell?

I guess two main reasons. 

I have for many years experienced and understood the benefits of gardening and ‘being in nature’ both for physical and mental health - I believe this to be true for all.

Throughout my life I have been drawn to and enjoyed roles that offer support to others. Bridewell is a very special and magical place to be and to heal. 

What skills do you use?

I do have some gardening experience and completed an RHS qualification many years ago but I think basic garden skills with plenty of enthusiasm is enough.

Communication skills - listening and ‘being alongside’ and recognising/understanding that gardeners sometimes are able to be alongside but not feel able/want to talk on any given session.

What qualities do you think a Bridewell volunteer needs?

Empathy for and with the needs of those who come to the garden.

Patience, acceptance and understanding for the real challenges faced by gardeners coming to the garden.

Curiosity, kindness, patience and to be non judgemental.

I love working with others and am really enjoying meeting and working with people from different walks of life.

I heard this phrase a couple of years ago which I always aspire to - to have an unconditional positive regard (Carl Rogers) - I think it’s really about curiosity, kindness, openness and a non judgmental stance (mine is more wordy!).

Willingness to participate in all aspects of the work of the garden and in support of the staff. 

What do you find most rewarding about the role?

I love working with others and am really enjoying meeting and working with people from different walks of life. 

It is especially lovely to see gardeners ‘grow’ and develop for example their self confidence and willingness to try new or challenging tasks. 

Seeing gardeners noticing their own growth is lovely. 

I have also enjoyed learning new horticulture skills e.g. pruning and working in the vineyard.

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