Volunteer profile: Pat
Pat is a retired teaching assistant, and got involved in volunteering on the Deep Roots New Shoots grandparents project when she started bringing her own granddaughter in to Eden for activity sessions.
Why did you decide to volunteer with us?
I’ve lived within a couple of miles of Eden for many years, and when I saw a sign advertising Little Eden for Grandparents I decided to bring my granddaughter along. We both loved it! At the end of the series, I was invited to volunteer, so that I could continue to be involved.
I’d recently retired from being a primary school teaching assistant, and had started to realise how I much I missed the children, so this was an ideal opportunity for me.
Describe a typical day’s volunteering
I start by helping set up the equipment and materials for activities such as looking at leaves or roots, or minibeasts and microbes.
Then, during the activities, it’s my job to help get both the children and the grandparents involved. The project is all about encouraging intergenerational activity so that grandparents can carry things on with their own grandchildren later, perhaps in their own gardens.
What’s it like volunteering at Eden?
Everyone is so welcoming and friendly, it’s lovely to be part of something which is really special and also really important – especially at the moment, with issues of global warming and climate change. It’s important for young children to start thinking about the environment around them, and question things like what a leaf is for and where cocoa comes from.
It’s also lovely to be with the other volunteers. It’s not just hard work – we all really enjoy it!
What’s the most satisfying part for you?
Watching the children warming up and getting into the sessions, and interacting with their grandparents. They sometimes start off really shy, but by the end of the session they’re chatting away, picking up things, digging and getting messy. By the end they start to realise what they can do with natural resources, for example that they can paint with flowers and use all the colours.