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Hilary's story

Hilary volunteers for Groundwork East as part of the Green Aiders team. The programme helps elderly, disabled, or vulnerable adults take control of their overgrown gardens through a one-off gardening service to help prevent burglaries and vandalism that an unkempt garden can attract.

“When I retired I moved to an apartment that didn’t have its own garden so I was pleased when I found out about Groundwork volunteering opportunities with the Green Aiders team.

“As much as I like gardening, I didn’t want to it to take up all of my time, so volunteering one day suits me perfectly. The projects we work on are completely different. Some ground clearance, some are gardens that have clearly been cared for but it’s got a bit out of hand for the owner.

“One particular project that sticks out in my mind was a garden belonging to an elderly couple in their 90s that had obviously been loved but had become unmanageable for them. They were so delighted when we left! Another project I worked on was for a lady who had been in an accident and was consequently in a wheelchair so couldn’t manage the garden. We got the garden back in a state where she could tend for it by herself and she was so pleased.

"My favourite part of working in the team is the reveal at the end when we have finished the garden – it’s a bit like Changing Rooms!

“I’ve been volunteering for five years now and as well as helping people it’s helped me to stay fit and active. It’s also allowed me to meet lots of new people along the way and work with a great team”