Garden Volunteering - Meet Derek When I went into Richard House I was blown away. From the gates, to the door entrance, to the clinic, the rooms, everything. I thought is this a hospice? Or is this a hotel? Alberta, Mum of Joshua At Richard House we aim to ensure that our specialist residential and day care units feel like a welcoming "home from home" for our families and children. Our grounds and gardens are an essential part of this aim, providing calming green space alongside interactive sensory play areas, creating a unique world to explore and a chance for our children and their siblings to play safely alongside one another in the great outdoors. Richard House sits on 1.7 acres of woodlands, gardens and grass banks. In 2018 we were incredibly fortunate to have our woodland area transformed into a "Let's Explore" sensory garden by the fantastic Greenfingers charity and our generous corporate partner Capsicum Re. We also have a Memory Garden and Fountain alongside multiple quiet spaces, all in among blossoming flowerbeds to offer a chance for families to reflect and staff to recharge. All our gardens reopened in September 2019 and we welcome our corporate partners to volunteer with us for a day, to keep these spaces looking the best they can for our families and children to enjoy. We can accept up to 10 volunteers for a day spent at Richard House, during which you will assist our resident gardener Derek with maintenance, planting, painting, sweeping and clearing, maybe even some weeding! You do not have to be green-fingered to take part, there are tasks for all levels and it's a great opportunity for a team-building day away from the office. Helping us to keep our gardens neat and tidy means that our families can enjoy them all year round. The gardens offer a space for fresh air, reflection, play and sensory development and therefore are a vital part of Richard House life. For many of our families, even a trip to the park may not be possible with the complex care needs or scale of equipment that their child requires. Booking a Gardening Day Our gardening days are available to teams March through to November, subject to weather, on Wednesdays and Fridays. We operate a first come, first serve basis on dates. We ask for a £500 donation to book a Gardening Day at Richard House. Richard House is very open about the challenges we face in order to continue our vital work. We are a small charity yet we care for over 300 families. We also know there are thousands more that need our help within our boroughs. Our government funding is limited; for every £4 we need to continue to run our services, therapies and activities, £3 of this has to come from voluntary funding. This is why we ask for a donation to volunteer in our garden. Your contribution will go towards our general funding pot, meaning we can continue to run all of our services and in turn continue offering opportunities for employee engagement to companies. However, we do recognise the value of our corporate partners and those who are happy to create long-lasting, strategic partnerships with Richard House. As such, we have a reward scheme in place to benefit our dedicated corporate partners, offering some additional opportunities and days across the year. Get in touch with us to find out more about this. For all the details of our gardening days and what your team can expect, download our Employee Engagement Days pack below. Also be sure to check out our FAQ's page for more support. Employee Engagement Days With Richard House Want to get started on booking an Employee Engagement Day for your team? Register Your Interest Now Meet Derek The gardens of Richard House would be nothing without Derek, despite his modesty! Derek has volunteered for Richard House for many years, creating much-appreciated views and spaces like our memorial garden which holds the names of children who have passed away at Richard House. A retired history teacher, Derek has also helped Richard House as a prolific London Marathon runner, raising thousands for our hospice and securing Good For Age places on multiple occasions. Derek's gardening knowledge comes from having spent holidays as a young man working for his local council gardens and for a while having a big vegetable patch of his own. It is this experience which helped earn Richard House a gold medal from the London Gardens' Association, and in 2018 Derek was quite rightly awarded Hospice Gardener of the Year. The garden, and working at Richard House, hold a special place for him: "I really enjoy the gardening and I love to be out in the open air. People usually say nice things and that's great." The stories and history that Derek can share with your team will make your day all the more special, but don't be fooled - he will also work you all hard to make sure you (and the gardens) get the most out of your day! You'll be sure to impress if you can tell him what our naval flags spell out... We are honoured and lucky to have Derek - hosting our corporate partners for garden volunteering on Wednesdays and Fridays ensures that you can have the added experience of time spent with a true Richard House Hero. What do our partners say about their day?