Hello! My name is Jasmine, and I currently volunteer with ecobirmingham, working on-site to support volunteer-led programmes, as well as to maintain the centre’s garden. I have been in this role since October 2022 and have had the privilege to see the garden develop along with the seasons.
How I start my day
My day starts with greetings from my colleagues. Often there are a few colleagues who come on-site to work and enjoy the garden. I work in the morning, so I bring my breakfast and sit outside or by the windows to enjoy a view of the garden. In the warmer months there are sounds of birds chirping and light conversation amongst colleagues as we prepare for the day ahead.
My day starts calmly, as I quietly plan for the volunteer led Stories for Nature programme. Over breakfast I mull over what equipment and materials I will need for the session ahead and where the interactive tasks will take place.
Who I work with and what I love
The children I work with range from toddler to emergent primary school age, along with their carers who supervise sessions. This means I work with a wonderful range of individuals and needs. I love the variety of the group I work with, who have a wonderful perspective on the ever-changing garden and the exciting activities hosted each week.
I love being able to engage with other people who also appreciate the garden space, and the common feeling of joy we share when the sun shines down and a gentle breeze weaves around the plants and willow structures.
My work in the garden space
After our volunteer-led session, I tend to spend time out in the garden working on maintenance tasks. Most recently, I have taken time to paint the garden fences and care for the new plants installed near to the pond. I find enjoyment in the time I take to maintain the garden, because this is where I contribute to the legacy of Birmingham’s green spaces. The garden grows and slims with the changing seasons, but my work remains interesting throughout. I have flexibility to work hands-on, as well as to think big and provide plans for garden design and support funding opportunities. The role has been a huge help for my mental health and has made me realise the importance of working in interactive spaces where tasks vary each day.
The benefits of volunteering and its impact on me
My role allows me to benefit current visitors, as well as curating a garden space for generations to come. No matter when the work is done, the impact sustains itself over time. That is a big legacy to have, and it is a legacy to my own needs and interests just as much to our regular visitors.
Volunteering has offered me the opportunity to expand the network of local residents I work with. This was particularly important to me after I moved to university, as I wanted to keep a connection to the city.
With this connection comes lots of chances to engage with a variety of individuals, families and colleagues and my communication skills have improved so much. I also have the confidence to pose ideas and act with creativity in any task I do at the centre.
I have also learnt about the importance of how physical activity has improved my mood and energy levels for the day ahead. As a student this is vitally important, and my volunteering role provides separation from often long periods of study indoors. My role reminds me to take time for my needs, and the on-site garden has offered a quiet haven away from more hectic periods of time at university.
We hope you have enjoyed reading this insight into the experience of one of our volunteers. People like Jasmine, and all of our wonderful volunteers, are vital to the community and the work that we do here at ecobirmingham.
If you are interested in volunteering with us, you can find our latest opportunities here.