It's a place of opportunity

News article

It's a place of opportunity
Our communities welcome volunteers who can spare half a day or a day with us each week or fortnight, offering their skills and experiences - as Tracey and Neil do. Both volunteer one day a week at Oaklands Park community in the Forest of Dean.

Supporting craft
Tracey comes to help out in the craft workshop – on her day, the focus is on cane work. ‘I started volunteering because I moved into the area and I had some spare time’, she explains.

'I came across Oaklands, and when I came for a tour it did impress me.

‘People participate in everything, it’s a real community. They really embrace the opportunities, all the different workshops like pottery, weaving and gardening. And they are learning great skills.

‘It’s a place of opportunity – doing fabulous work. It’s nice to be involved.’

Enriching life

A new year’s resolution to do some volunteering led Neil and his wife to contact Oaklands. ‘My wife works in the garden and I work on the farm – because we’re retired, our time is our own’, he says.

With no farm experience at all, it might at first have been a surprise for Neil to find himself mucking in with everything from feeding the pigs to cutting sheep’s toenails!

But he finds it all very satisfying, from the beneficial physical exertion of working outdoors to the relationships that are forged. ‘The relationships are the most important thing. The working alongside residents, and getting to know them. It’s enriching.’

We always need volunteers and whether you have an interest in helping with our farms and gardens, in our workshops (from baking and crafts to preserving and woodwork), or helping out as a befriender, we would love to hear from you. You don’t need to have specific skills as training is available. Please contact your local community or go to, find your nearest local community page, and click on ‘Work With Us’.