Burgess Hill volunteers help clean space for older people

Volunteers spring-cleaned a charity’s grounds as part of work to restart face-to-face services for older people at Cherry Tree Centre in Burgess Hill.

Thursday, 20th May 2021, 3:24 pm
UK Power Networks Services volunteers working at Age UKs Cherry Tree Centre ahead of its reopening SUS-210518-131514001

Age UK West Sussex, Brighton and Hove’s (WSBH) centre in Burgess Hill, reopened on Monday, May 17, providing a beacon of hope to help older people reconnect following difficult months of lockdown loneliness.

Staff from a local electricity infrastructure company, UK Power Networks Services swapped their usual computer-based roles for trowels, forks and secateurs as part of Donate a Day, the company’s volunteer scheme, which gives employees two paid days leave each year to work on voluntary projects in their local community.

Emily Emmess, centre coordinator for Age UK WSBH in Burgess Hill, said: “Lockdown has been incredibly tough for all of us and many older people have suffered from loneliness and isolation.

“We’re delighted to be able to open our doors to those ready to start socialising and we’re ensuring they are as safe, welcome and comfortable as possible.

“We’re so grateful to the UK Power Networks Services team who’ve made our garden bright and inviting – once again our community is really pulling together.

“We can’t wait to see people reunited, enjoying the centre with their friends.”

The team planted young geraniums, pansies and lobelia to add interest and create summer colour, particularly around the patio, where visitors can sit outdoors on benches.

They re-planted hanging baskets, troughs and pots, removed dead plants and weeded borders and edges.

Ginette Leeder, senior asset systems administrator at UK Power Networks Services, said: “We took flowering plants with us to put in hanging baskets.

“Age UK was grateful we were able to tidy up the grounds before they reopen.

“We had light gardening duties to make it a welcoming place for people that come into the centre.

“I enjoy the camaraderie of our volunteer days.

“It’s a chance to meet face-to-face with our wider team, especially during lockdown and is a great way to get to know people and make a difference in the local community, because it’s always well received.”

Age UK West Sussex, Brighton and Hove is a brand partner of the national charity Age UK, but is a local, independent charity that works with people over 50, supporting and empowering them to make the most of life.

Age UK WSBH aims to help older people to remain healthy, stay independent, be informed and get connected.

It offers information, advice and services, while its social clubs and centres offer activities for fun, friendship and fitness.

To find out more information about AGE UK WSBH, visit www.ageukwsbh.org.uk.

To find out more information about the national charity Age UK, visit www.ageuk.org.uk