6. Volunteers

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6. Volunteers

Spending a period of time as a volunteer with the GardenWell™ programme is an exciting and rewarding challenge.

GardenWell™ has developed an innovative alternative to mainstream approaches by providing the opportunity for people with stress, anxiety and other mental health problems to develop their potential through working alongside people who are relatively well, in an atmosphere of friendship, acceptance and mutual support.

We aim to break down the distinction which frequently exists between those seen as ‘well’ and those seen as ‘unwell.’ Volunteers play a key role in this process by helping to create a culture of mutual support which facilitates residents in developing their strengths and allows them to see themselves as having something to offer as well as having something to gain from community life.

It is not essential that volunteers have any special practical skills; however those who do are encouraged to use them in ways that benefit our clients.

Although distinctions between volunteers and clients are minimised, the volunteers have a key role to play in the community in helping to create a positive atmosphere. It is hoped that through the volunteers’ energy and example, everyone will be encouraged to participate to the best of their ability. As their role is essentially that of befriender, volunteers can also be involved supporting people at times of distress.

We have a strong commitment to supporting volunteers to get the most out of the their experience with GardenWell™ through weekly group supervision and regular individual supervision. There are also opportunities for training and personal development.

What you can gain

Volunteering at GardenWell™ offers a valuable opportunity for personal growth. It provides practical experience for those who want to apply for entry into professional training in areas such as social work or counselling. It can also provide useful post-qualifying experience after completing a professional qualification.

Previous experience

Volunteers may already have professional experience in the social care field, but are drawn to GardenWell™ in order to experience an alternative way of supporting people and working together from a set of shared values. Some people also come to learn about the therapeutic use of horticulture.

Others may want to take a new direction in life or want time out from their normal career. Prior to applying, it is helpful to have had some experience, either paid or voluntary, in the social care field. It can also be helpful to have some experience of meditation or other areas of personal development which leads to an increased self-awareness and ability to be present with others in a genuine way.

What we are looking for

In selecting volunteers, we are looking for people who are:

  • Concerned for others: able to take an active interest in the welfare of others.

  • Open-minded: willing to respect everyone in the community for who they are.

  • Enthusiastic: have a positive attitude.

  • Mature: robust enough to handle what can be an emotionally demanding role.

  • Responsible: can support the community’s values, as well as its structures and routines.

  • Open to learning: being prepared to look at one’s own values and ways of relating to others.

  • Able to work in a team: it is vital that volunteers are committed to working as part of a mutually supportive team.

Terms and Conditions

We require a minimum commitment of 3 months, although ideally we would like volunteers to stay for at least one year to ensure continuity and stability.

We welcome applications from people of all ages over 21. We like to have a mixture of ages in the volunteer team.

The commitment expected from volunteers is not like that of a 9 to 5 job although it is expected that volunteers will assist regularly on reorganised days and times.

All volunteers are required to go through Police Safety checks.

How to Apply

If you are interested in joining GardenWell™, please contact us at office@landscapedesign.melbourne

If you are selected for interview, the first step will be to come for a day visit.