Network Rail volunteers and hostel residents after a hard day's work in the garden at a North London hostel

Volunteers transform hostel garden

Volunteers from Network Rail helped to renovate a hostel’s garden just in time for the summer.

Alongside staff and residents, two volunteers from Network Rail brought tools, plants, and a can-do attitude to a day spent revamping a hostel garden.

Scheme manager Saba explained that many of the residents have schizophrenia and will never be able to live totally independently. But activities like gardening help to bring them out of their shells and get them socialising with one another.

Masoud has been at the hostel for a year. He studies music and regularly takes part in rap recording sessions at Key Changes in London. He said he would think about writing a gardening-based rap and spend more time outside enjoying the space.

The volunteers cleared and re-roofed the shed, and two trees that were blocking sunlight from the garden were pruned. Masoud and some of the other residents helped to clear the foliage and were very happy with the result.

Peter, a Principal Design Engineer from Network Rail, said: “It beats sitting at a computer!

“I looked for a specific way to help homeless people. You often pass homeless people in the street and feel guilty, so I thought it would be good to help in some way.”

Tom is a Construction Manager with Network Rail. He added: “It’s always good to give something for people less fortunate.

“Some of my friends that have battled with mental health issues, so Church Housing Trust’s work with people with mental health issues is very important.

“It’s rewarding at the same time.”

If you are interested in volunteering opportunities with Church Housing Trust, please get in touch with Supporter Relations Manager Ruth Uwimana.