Volunteer – Horticulture

Volunteering with our Horticulture Project

Halesowen allotmentWe are developing a programme of gardening and horticulture.

We have a good base of evidence that ‘green’, outdoor therapies can reduce isolation and promote good mental wellbeing by:

  • connecting people with others
  • helping people to be more active
  • learning new skills
  • taking noticing of nature and the passing seasons
  • giving satisfaction from a job well done

At present we have sites where we garden at Netherton, Halesowen and at Stevens Park, Wollescote. We run short courses and workshops on gardening and linked subjects. Courses are part classroom based, part practical.

Opening of Darby End Community Gdn Jul 2014At Halesowen we have a small allotment which our gardeners can use alone or in small groups. This site has no shelter or facilities. At Netherton we have raised beds at a community garden where there is indoor space and limited facilities.

Gardening in the Park Aug 2014The Wollescote garden is our main site where we currently meet on Wednesday mornings. It’s a beautiful site, in an historic setting with views over the Clent and Clee Hills. We are working in partnership with Dudley Council’s Parks Development Team who are seeking new ways for people to be involved in their local parks. Our work also fits with Dudley’s food growing strategy but we’re not just about edible gardening, we also plan to create a restful, scented garden.

The group meets at the same time each week, rain or shine, and we like our volunteers to give a regular commitment as this enables individuals to get to know the volunteer over a period of time. If possible we would like you to commit to a 3 hour slot for 6 months.

What will I do?

The gardening team assesses what tasks need to be done each week and agree between them who is doing what. Volunteers are expected to work alongside group members with the practical tasks and to carry out other activities which could include:

  • Helping to set up for the day – getting out tools and equipment as needed
  • Listening and talking to individuals attending the activities
  • ‘Buddying’ for new group members
  • Helping with the running of courses
  • Helping to clear away at the end of the session
  • Keeping a safe and clean environment and following health and safety procedures on site as guided by the Horticulture Manager

Some volunteers have particular skills or interests that they can share as part of the horticulture activity. If you have a skill or hobby you want to share please let us know when you come in for your discussion with us about volunteering.

What skills, qualities or experience will I need?

  • We welcome people who have their own lived experience of mental distress who can be open about their own experiences whilst maintaining boundaries
  • A non-judgemental approach and the ability to empathise is essential
  • An ability to listen to others and communicate well in a calm way with a wide range of people is also essential
  • Any gardening skills and knowledge would be appreciated
  • A willingness to be out in all weathers and prepared to ‘have a go’
  • An understanding of the stigma and discrimination people with mental health issues face in their everyday lives
  • An ability to take responsibility for own wellbeing and seek support when needed
  • A willingness to attend any training that might be required, also support and supervision sessions on a regular basis
  • You will be expected to follow our policies and procedures such as our confidentiality policy and our health and safety procedures.

How much time will I give?

Our session lasts for 3 hours with some set up and clear up time at either end. This is a weekly session on a Wednesday morning from10am until 1pm. We would like you to commit to volunteering regularly up to 6 months. We recognise that you will have appointments, holidays and other commitments so we can be flexible, but we do ask that you let us know well in advance so we can put plans in place.

When you come for your initial discussion with us we will ask you which days and times are best for you and will do our best to accommodate you within the confines of our timetable.

What can I expect from Dudley Mind?

We really value our volunteers and want to make your volunteering experience with us a positive one so we will provide the following:

  • A named person for you to work alongside
  • Training about mental health – usually the nationally recognised Mental Health First Aid course
  • Other training relevant to your activity e.g. health and safety briefings
  • An induction including an introduction to the policies and procedures we will expect you to follow
  • Regular support and supervision sessions where you can discuss any concerns you might have
  • Access to any newsletters or e-bulletins we provide to keep you up to date
  • A safe and inclusive space to volunteer
  • A friendly welcome from the rest of the team
  • Out of pocket expenses within our agreed guidelines
  • We can also provide a reference for you if you have been volunteering with us for more than 6 months

What do I do next?

Please fill out the application form below telling us about your skills, knowledge and experience, and also the Equal Opportunities form which will remain anonymous and is used for evaluation purposes only.

Return it to us and we will invite you in for a discussion about what we do and what you would like to offer.

As we work with vulnerable adults if you are accepted as a volunteer we will ask you to complete a DBS check before you can start to work alongside individuals who are attending our activities. We will also ask for references from the people you have nominated on your form.

If we do not have capacity at this moment in time to take any more volunteers we will let you know when we receive your application form and keep your details on file.

Volunteer Application Form