The many benefits of volunteering

It’s Volunteers Week 2024 so we are celebrating our hard working and dedicated volunteers, without whom Tortworth Arboretum would still be overrun with rhododendron, bamboo and bramble. We can’t thank you enough for your ongoing passion and enthusiasm for bashing, digging, lugging, sawing, chopping, lopping and all the other tasks you take on, and for being part of the Tortworth community.

What we want to focus on this week is not what we get from our volunteers, but what our volunteers get from volunteering. With over 500 volunteers and over 13,000 volunteer hours in the past (almost) 10 years at Tortworth, there’s obviously been a huge variety in what people have wanted from volunteering and what they’ve got from it. Probably best to let some of them speak for themselves!

“Good way to spend time outside. Meet new people. Fun physical activity.”

“One of the best things for me about coming on a Sunday is the non-judgemental and non-competitive nature. Everyone is just accepted into the group; you can do as much or as little work as you can/want. There’s a lovely atmosphere, facilitated by the wonderful staff.”

“It’s really nice to reflect on areas that you’ve cleared and think ‘ah, we did that’”

“For someone who’s incredibly shy, it’s one of the only sociable activities I get involved in where I feel comfortable. It’s given me a day a month when I can get out into the world of people and communicate. I’m much more relaxed here.”

“There’s something really magical about a place you come back to regularly. It’s something about having a connection with a place that you carry with you all the time. It’s much more meaningful”

“It’s my healing place”.

“Contrast with the day job; I can just rock up and do whatever is on the work list without everyone asking me for answers, or to write a report or attend a meeting.”

“It’s given me a confidence that I didn’t have; a confidence to just try things.”

“I feel happy as soon as I get on the minibus. Stepping out in the countryside. Fresh air. Chatting away. Using my body. These all make me happy.”

“It’s interesting. You learn new skills, make new friends.”

“It’s something very special – to be part of the team”

“It’s nice to get out and about. I have an office job so I find it really good for my mental health to come out and actually do physical work, rather than just typing at a desk. And get some fresh air for sure. Being in all weathers as well, because being in an office you’re cooped up, you feel a bit disjointed from the outside world. So, coming out you can enjoy the sunshine, you can enjoy the rain”.

“I get a real sense of calm and achievement, as well as chocolate biscuits!”

Want to join us?

If you think this is for you then come and join us on one of our volunteer days. Find out more and sign-up to our mailing list by clicking the link below