More volunteers are being sought to help look after public gardens in the district.
Tendring District Council’s (TDC) horticulture team are responsible for planting and maintaining a number of open spaces across the area – including beautiful sites such as Clacton’s seafront gardens, Walton-on-the-Naze and Cliff Park in Dovercourt.
Their hard work is underpinned by a team of volunteers who like to play their part in the gardens’ upkeep – as well as keeping both physically and mentally fit and active, and making new friends.
Diane Sexton, one of the volunteer team at Clacton’s seafront gardens, said: “It’s great to help out the community and make friends, and it is so good for your mental and physical health.
“Just being together, especially after lockdown, is fantastic and we do have a laugh and get on well as a team.
“People love the gardens and come and thank us, so it is very rewarding and uplifting to hear all of the gratitude, and to see what it means to them. We’re not able to change the world but we want to look after our little bit of heaven.”
Friend and fellow volunteer Rose Wilkins added: “It’s especially nice for people in flats who don’t have a garden, to come and help out.
“The amount of visitors who say it’s so much better than what they have at home shows us how important it is for tourists, and how lucky we are.”
The volunteers help to plant new and replacement flowers, keep weeds at bay, and generally make sure the areas look nice, with the chance to get involved in other projects too.
All equipment is supplied, including outdoor clothing, with direction given by the council’s gardeners, and people can give as much or as little time as they wish to.
Michael Talbot, TDC Cabinet Member for Environment, said the involvement of the community was what made Tendring’s public gardens so special.
“Our gardening team works so incredibly hard, and do an amazing job, but they cannot be everywhere at once and also have a lot of important maintenance to do such as grass cutting in our parks and the like,” Councillor Talbot said.
“The support given by our volunteers is vital to keeping our gardens looking at their very best, all-year around, and I heartily thank them for all that they do.
“Gardening is so good for you – getting you out in the fresh air, keeping you active – while volunteering is also a very social activity. So if this appeals to you, and you want to get involved in making your local area looking nice, please do sign up.”
In recognition of the importance outdoor activities and volunteering play, £35,000 has been allocated in the council’s Back to Business plan to support the management of an increased volunteer team.
Anyone interested in volunteering can contact Sean Biswell, TDC’s Temporary Community and Volunteer Projects Manager within the Open Spaces team, on 07786 660603 or at email@example.com.