“When I retired as a telecommunications worker I suddenly had this abundance of free time on my hands. I’ve always enjoyed helping out in my community and my retirement seemed like the perfect opportunity to get more involved.
“I spend a lot of time working on the large community garden where I live, ensuring it remains in good condition throughout the year. In 2018 alone I planted over 700 plants and put up 38 hanging baskets and wall planters!
“We enter Britain in Bloom most years and have been awarded Gold Outstanding, the highest rating from the Royal Horticultural Society, for the last four years. We also won the Best Garden Award in the Great Places competition in 2018.
“I love working in the garden. It’s kept me relatively fit and I’ve learned a lot of gardening knowledge as to begin with I had very little skills. It’s a brilliant feeling when people compliment me on the garden and it gives me such satisfaction to see people enjoy the space; it’s really enhanced my wellbeing. I’m so proud of all the awards we have received too.
“Aside from the garden, I’m also Chair of our Residents’ Social Club where I help organise activities, events, day trips and parties. During my time I have managed to raise £15,000 for the garden and social club which has been an incredible help. I’m also a representative on the Senior Tenants Voice group who meet every four months.
“I really enjoy volunteering at Great Places; I like making a positive contribution in my community and I’ve made a lot of friends since starting. I have a real sense of belonging. I would definitely recommend volunteering at Great Places if you can.”