I’m Sharon. I’ve been a volunteer at Preston Park for a couple of years, so not as long as some people, but what inspired me about volunteering at the Park was probably at the beginning of Covid when I noticed how quickly the Rose Garden in particular was overgrown, as volunteers were not allowed to work it because of lockdown.
I had a conversation with Andy, Preston Park garden manager, and he welcomed me to join the volunteer group once the easing of restrictions allowed. The weeds were over our heads in the Rose Garden and we started on the mammoth task of tackling the weeds.
At the time there was only a handful of us who were allowed to work, with only one person on each rose bed because of the rule of six, so it was hard but we persevered and I gained a huge sense of satisfaction thinking that we were making a difference to our well-loved Park.
I use the Park every day and I wanted it to look nice and the roses to be in good shape for everybody to enjoy.
I think some of the things I’ve enjoyed the most are the conversations and the laughs I’ve had with other volunteers. It’s a joyful, uplifting experience. I tend to suffer with mental health, depression and anxiety, particularly in the winter months and it has lifted me enormously in lots of ways and I love the camaraderie and the good sense that we are doing something together.
I would recommend volunteering at Preston Park to anybody, any age, to love and join our merry throng. Now we have a big group of people who come out regularly even in the winter. Even if it is overcast and miserable, we get out here if we can and it is a joy.