Share this page

Welcoming Volunteers Back to the Gardens at Shakespeare’s Family Homes

Find out what the first cohort of garden volunteers since the reopening of Shakespeare's Family Homes have been up to...

Sian Cooper

Volunteers have always been an important part of the work we do here at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. Unfortunately, many of our volunteering programmes had to be postponed during 2020 and 2021 because of the covid-19 pandemic. So, when I started in my new role as Gardens Manager earlier this year, I really wanted to restart the volunteering and corporate volunteering opportunities with the gardens department.

The first step was welcoming a whole new cohort of Gardens volunteers. As a small team we were obviously a little daunted by the prospect of our team suddenly doubling in size for one day a week! While we needed the extra hands, how that would actually run was a concern. However, our concerns were short-lived as we have been blessed with a number of excellent garden volunteers. A mix of new and returning faces, the current group have a range of experience. Most importantly, they bring motivation and enthusiasm by the bucket load! Whether it’s weeding, apple picking, or meadow clearance, they are keen to get stuck in, even if the weather is slightly questionable!

Welcoming members of the local community to be a part of what we do here is important to us. It gives the Gardening Team an opportunity to share their knowledge about the history and practicalities of working on our sites, as well as imparting their horticultural knowledge with others. Meanwhile, the volunteers offer some much needed assistance with the bigger jobs we have on our sites. For example, the volunteers have really helped us keep on top of the cottage garden at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage.

A group of volunteers and Shakespeare Birthplace Trust Gardens staff looking happy after a hard day's work clearing a path through the plantation at Anne Hathaway's Cottage.

In the last month we have also welcomed the first of our corporate volunteer groups from NFU Mutual, who joined the Gardens team for a day of clearance work in the plantation at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage. As an area of the site which hasn’t been open to the public recently, the plantation had become rather overgrown, with many of the paths having been quickly reclaimed by nature. However the team made quick work of cutting back overgrown shrubs, clearing weeds, and reinstating paths. This is work which we hope to continue with other corporate groups we have planned for the autumn months.

We greatly appreciate the time and effort all of our volunteers give to us, and we truly couldn’t do it without you. A big thank you from everyone in the Garden Team.

If you’re interested in volunteering with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust visit our volunteer page to see the latest opportunities.

Find out more about how the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is collaborating and communicating to achieve our carbon net zero ambition by visiting our Sustainable Shakespeare page.