Gardening is a particularly British pastime, and large numbers of us spend many a happy hour pruning and planting, mowing and mulching – or just admiring the fruits of our labours.
Two of the asylum seekers we support, A. & J., have been volunteering to help in older people’s gardens whilst learning some of the skills of gardening – in this instance clearing years of overgrown undergrowth! And what a fantastic job they did under the watchful eye of our volunteers!
This serves many different purposes. First of all, it gives them something valuable to do – most asylum seekers are not allowed to work, so life can be tedious and isolated. Getting outside with others gives them contact with local people and a feeling of contributing something to the country that has received them.
Secondly, their work is a real help to those whose gardens they work in. We love it when those we support are themselves able to contribute to other people’s needs.
And thirdly, working alongside some of our volunteers who are expert gardeners, they learn new skills. These form part of their adaptation to life in the UK, and are relevant to their future life, if their asylum claims are at some point approved.
And speaking of life in the UK, here they are enjoying a typical fish and chip meal as a reward for their hard work, mushy peas included!
Our sincere thanks to both of them for the work they have done, and to our volunteers for helping them get to grips with a few different gardens.