The Olive Tree is a centre for everyone affected by cancer. They provide a range of services to support patients from the point of diagnosis, through their treatment and beyond. The charity is one of Assurity Consulting’s community partners and we commit to helping them where we can each year. After the success of our gardening volunteer day with them last year, we arranged for another ‘make a difference day’ to take place in 2017.

With the weather forecast for heavy rain, our planned volunteer day on Friday 19th May was expected to be a rain soaked day. A group of four Assurity Consulting employees met at Squires garden centre in Crawley at 9am, to choose a variety of different plants for the Olive Tree’s garden and hanging baskets. The Olive Tree is Squires charity of the year this year, so they very kindly gave us a discount on all of our purchases.

 

We loaded up the car and headed over to the centre which is based at Crawley Hospital. Marilyn Drury, the Centre Manager, met us on arrival and told us we had “a free reign on the garden and to do whatever we felt best”. She was lovely and spoke about how much the team at the centre appreciated our help and how many patients use the garden in the summer.

Fortunately, the weather held out for the morning whilst we repotted the hanging baskets and laid fresh bark on the beds at the front. Unfortunately, the dry weather didn’t last long and it started to rain heavily at around 1pm. We took this as a sign to stop for lunch and hoped that the weather would ease up. We had the right idea and the rain stopped during our lunch break, so we spent the afternoon planting the extra plants and tidying the garden.

At the end of the day Marilyn came and thanked us for our time and commented on how grateful they were for our hard work and effort. As the sky was grey and dull she said that she would get some photos of the patients in the garden when the weather was better!

Carol Fowles, Report Coordinator from Assurity Consulting, was one of our volunteers for the day and commented, “Our volunteer day started out dry and bright but ended a little damp, but we managed to get everything planted and tidied up the mess we’d made. We were kindly provided with drinks and biscuits through the day. Several people passed through the garden and made some very nice comments and thanked us for our hard work, which was very heartening and enforced the idea that we actually did make a difference.”

Our volunteers thoroughly enjoyed their day at the centre and we look forward to arranging another volunteer day with the Olive Tree next year! 

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