Returning to Rowcroft – a gardener’s tale

How Bernice and her green fingers are brightening our gardens!

Bernice was born and bred in Torquay, and she started volunteering with the hospice about two years ago.  As an auxiliary nurse in the early 1980s, Bernice actually worked here for a while when the hospice had just opened but a health problem put an end to her nursing career and took Bernice in a different direction. But now she is back and putting her passion for gardening to great effect.

Supporting the hospice

“I’m a busy person but I wanted to do something to help Rowcroft, so I came and joined as a volunteer gardener,” says Bernice. “I really enjoy helping make the grounds look lovely for our patients, and I can use my creativity which is important. It feels like turning full circle to be back here 40 years later!”

Flexible volunteering

“I really like the flexibility of the volunteering. As a regular volunteer, I try to do about four hours a week, but I can do as much or as little as I like. And if the weather is terrible or it’s winter then I stay at home. There’s always plenty to do especially at this time of year with spring in the air and the bulbs pushing through; it’s a beautiful place to be.”

A physical role

“One of my main jobs is the digging as I really love the physical activity! But I also do a lot of planting, weeding and general gardening tasks. I do bring my gardening skills and knowledge, but there is always more to learn. This is a very rich red clay soil here, and I’ve had to do some research to find out what plants suit these conditions.”

The benefits of volunteering

“As a group of volunteers we’re quite social and we love chatting to patients or other visitors who stop on their way past. I’ve made some lovely new friends here.

“The best thing about volunteering here is the feeling of having done something to help others. I’m able to see the positive difference I make as gardening is a very tangible thing.

“If you’re thinking of volunteering for Rowcroft I’d say ‘go for it’! I do tell a lot of people this as I’m proud to say I volunteer for Rowcroft and I get a lot of satisfaction.”

Find out more about volunteering at Rowcroft and discover our current opportunities here.

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