A workers' cooperative growing food on London's edge in the Lea Valley

Buddy Scheme

Organiclea is looking for volunteer support gardeners at Hawkwood Community Plant Nursery to ‘buddy’ other volunteers who have higher support needs.

A number of Hawkwood volunteers have learning difficulties, physical difficulties, are referred by mental health teams, face language barriers, or have various other support needs. We value our diverse community, and recognise that working here can bring enormous benefits.

Being a Support Gardener
The role is to support others to participate successfully in volunteer work days.

  • Create and maintain a safe and welcoming space.
  • Be a friendly face that people can approach with questions or for reassurance.
  • Provide practical support to enable people to carry out horticultural tasks around the site. This may be within a general group setting, or facilitating specific activities with a smaller group. You will not be expected to work on your own with other volunteers.
  • Feed back to the wider Hawkwood team about how individuals could be better supported/ integrated in the work.

There will be weekly training sessions for two months – Wednesdays 10am-3pm, June and July 2013 – after which we hope you will continue volunteering at Hawkwood in order to practice your learning and to support other volunteers here.

Wednesday is our busiest volunteer day, which you will be joining. The program will involve training sessions and experiential learning.

  • Structured sessions to learn about potential support needs of others, including through sharing knowledge and reflecting on experiences.
  • Active participation in the horticultural activities around the site, with a focus on individuals who may need support.
  • Lunch is provided.

What we are looking for
There are no required skills or experience to join this training programme, but an interest in sustainable food production and enthusiasm for involving diverse communities in food growing are essential. We are looking for people with good people skills, who are interested in gardening or food growing, and who have an enthusiasm for the benefits of working in the natural environment and as part of a productive team.

It might suit you if you are:

  • Looking to work with or participate in a community growing project.
  • Have a background in care work and are interested in developing your experience in a ‘green care’ or food growing setting.
  • Are looking to widen your horticultural experience to include people care.

To become a support gardener or for more information
Please contact Kate Ulrick at info@organiclea.org.uk or at the Hawkwood growing site on 020 8524 4994.

To apply you will be asked to fill in a short application form, including a criminal record disclosure.


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