National Volunteer Week

The Harefield Healing Garden opened in September 2021 following three years of planning, fundraising and hard work. Nestled near the entrance to Harefield Hospital, the Healing Garden is full of colour and beauty, and is a quiet spot where patients, visitors and staff can take a break from a busy or difficult day.

This Volunteers’ Week, we caught up with founders, Rosie and Catherine, and their team to hear about their experience and why volunteering means so much to them.

“Some of my friends say to me: ‘haven’t you finished the garden?’ But a garden is never ever finished! I find spending time in the garden very therapeutic. I’m meeting the other volunteers and catching up with them, but also talking to people in the garden whether they’re patients or relatives of patients and seeing how much they appreciate it. It’s the most rewarding thing. Actually, the thing I’m most proud of doing is the Healing Garden.” Rosie


“I originally volunteered because I wanted to give something back to the hospital staff who had done so much for dad. I met Rosie and she had this idea for the garden. We joined forces, got it designed, fundraised for it and eventually got it built. But it meant much more to me personally when I started planting things in the garden myself. When you have physically contributed to what’s growing in the garden yourself, you become connected to it. It’s just a wonderful space and it was very well needed.” Catherine


“I was the first official volunteer at the Healing Garden. I’d moved to Harefield in 2020 and I wanted to get involved in the community. I’ve felt the social benefits and all-round health benefits of volunteering here. I spent a lot of the early lockdown shielding, so getting out and meeting other people in this environment was brilliant for my mental health. What is so rewarding about doing this volunteering is it’s not just for my own benefits, but it’s also the enjoyment of staff and patients and visitors. Their feedback and their involvement at times has just been so humbling.” Jane


“My husband has asthma, and he does Singing for Breathing. In one of the arts emails, I picked up on a call out for help in the garden. I didn’t even know the garden was here! Volunteering in the garden makes me feel great. First, it’s the camaraderie with these lovely women, but also the fresh air, the gorgeous plants and meeting the many people who come out here to enjoy it.” Beverley


“In August of last year, I saw a Facebook post about the garden and decided to come along and see how I could get involved. It’s an enjoyable garden to be in and it’s so nice to be able to talk to patients or anyone else who is walking through it. It’s not just gardening. We have this time to chat to people which I enjoy. So many people have told us how much has been appreciated.” Linda
“It makes me feel useful since retiring from work. Everyone who visits or uses the garden is so appreciative of what’s been achieved. It’s very satisfying to see all the hard work we’ve done come to fruition. I couldn’t wait to get back after the Christmas break to see if all the bulbs we had planted had flowered. I’ve met a nice group of people and learnt a lot from them along the way. The garden is a very special place, it’s very special to be part of it.” Kathy