Green-thumbed Laura makes a real difference at Girton Green

As part of Volunteers Week (1-7 June) we're sharing the story of Laura, a 13 year old student of St Mary's Senior School in Cambridge, who volunteers in the gardens of Abbeyfield Girton Green independent living apartments.

Volunteers’ Week is a time to say thanks for the contribution millions of people make across the UK through volunteering. The Week is supported and celebrated by small grassroots organisations as well as larger, household-name charities. 

Volunteers are the lifeblood of Abbeyfield. Our founder Richard Carr-Gomm, our first ever volunteer, gave his time to help lonely and isolated older people. Today, over sixty years later, 4,500 volunteers continue his legacy, bringing their skills and personality to our houses and homes to ‘make time for older people’.

One of our youngest volunteers, Laura, is currently completing her Duke of Edinburgh award — we spoke to her about her DoE and experience volunteering with Abbeyfield so far.

Laura said: “As a 13 year old student of St Mary’s Senior School I was given the opportunity to take the Duke of Edinburgh award. The award involves helping the community, becoming fitter and developing new skills and planning, training for, and completing an expedition.

“There are Bronze, Silver and Gold awards and for the Bronze award this year I have had to complete 6 months of a skill and 3 months of a sport and volunteering as well as an expedition. I chose to have flute lessons for my skill and tennis lessons for my sport. I completed the expedition in May and walked 30km over a weekend which was quite hard as a lot of the time it was raining!"

“For volunteering, as I really love gardening at home, I asked if I could help in the Abbeyfield garden." Laura continued. "I live just around the corner and thought it would be good to volunteer locally. I was delighted to be given the opportunity at Abbeyfield and started volunteering in October 2020. I've been coming on Saturday mornings (when we were not in lockdown) and planted daffodil bulbs, helped weeding and planting the raised beds, planted some gladioli bulbs and freesia bulbs and helped with general weeding and pruning. I am looking forward to helping prepare the hanging baskets.

“I work mainly with Gail and enjoy meeting the other residents and chatting about the garden and learning from them about plants as they are very knowledgeable! Everyone has been very welcoming.

“Volunteering at Abbeyfield has been a fun and great experience for me and I hope to be able to continue coming even after I have completed my award.”

We'd like to take this opportunity to thank Laura and all our volunteers, for all that you do to help us enrich the lives of older people. 

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