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A Volunteer’s Story

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How it started
I joined QPF pretty much at the start, finally having found a group of like-minded people who first and foremost wanted to improve the deteriorating state of one of Kingston’s top attractions. I am a hobby gardener myself, not more than that, and I was keen to roll up my sleeves. Not an extrovert, I was a bit apprehensive though about what I would let myself in for.

I found a well organised group of people, with a mission, drive and wide range of skills. It simply felt good to be part. In equal measure, there was hard graft as well as laughter, banter and happiness. The community spirit was immediate, the excitement palpable and this on the doorstep of where I live! It drew me back, again and again.

Where we are now
Three years on we can look back on a proud achievement. The Pocket Park is our “home”, where we meet, discuss ideas and from where we radiate out to get our hands dirty. Immediately north of the Pocket Park, the River View Garden alone has been transformed in under a year, and we made further preparation for next. We also significantly improved the southern side, so far mainly pruning and bulb planting (I reckon a thousand bulbs so far). 

In the midst of the COVID challenge, restrictions permitting at the time, the existence of the group and the opportunity to get outdoors doing something positive was a godsend. The therapeutic aspect was undeniable, whether you lived in a flat or had your own garden. Community, again, proofed to be key to overcoming adversity. 

Plans for the Future
Our group is managed by a driven leader, Julian, whose enthusiasm is catching. He carefully creates space for individual skills and brings out the best in people to the benefit of the greater good. Importantly, he also manages the vital contacts with the council and related services. I am grateful for having the opportunity to be part of an enthusiastic team, with a shared purpose and much camaraderie. The regular compliments from passers-by are encouraging and simply lovely. 

Naturally, I am very keen to see how life comes back next spring and how we will continue maintaining our patch, spreading out further (never a shortage of ideas) and “just being QPF”. I am glad life threw this opportunity my way. If you would like to join, have some basic gardening skills and are fun, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Stef and Karim having bags of fun

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