Volunteers spruce up Pond Street gardens

Have you ever noticed the gardens outside the Royal Free Hospital? These areas on Pond Street are looked after by our volunteer gardening group, funded by the Royal Free Charity. We caught up with some members of the group once referred to as “a miracle on Pond Street”…

“I volunteer to give back to the whole community. Gardening gives me deep satisfaction and the lovely comments from patients and visitors make it worthwhile.” – Charlotte, Lead Garden Volunteer

Prior to the group being established the area was unloved, and visitors have noticed the difference: “I have been walking past the garden regularly now. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it so beautiful and inviting.” – Local resident

“I like to garden and to see the results, there is a lovely group of volunteers, and we have a giggle! But the positive comments from patients and visitors using the hospital top it all.” – Emma, Volunteer

Nigel had to retire from being a full-time gardener due to injuries, but his treatment at the Royal Free Hospital inspired him to volunteer:

“In 2017 I spent nearly 2 weeks in Royal Free Hospital and underwent intensive physiotherapy. The staff were amazing to me, and I promised that I would give something back to them by volunteering. It was a great way to start meeting people again after not leaving the house due to my injuries. When covid-19 struck I was not able to volunteer in the wards any longer. However, I was introduced to the gardening group and was happy to be able to help with my years of gardening knowledge. It has been a great experience and we have a wonderful group.”

The group meets every Saturday, and their hard work has added some much-appreciated colour to the gardens this Spring. “I have treatment every week at the Royal Free. Whenever I come out of the hospital, the gardens make me feel less frightened.” – Royal Free patient

We are fully committed to providing an environment in which volunteers are able to realise their full potential and contribute to the success of the charity, find out more about our volunteering programme here.