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Growing Lives Support Volunteer

About the Project

Growing Lives is Therapeutic Market Garden project based on a one acre site right in the heart of Lewisham – A London borough with some of the highest incidence of mental ill health.

Drawing on our many years of experience we help over 40 people suffering from mental ill health and improve their confidence, wellbeing, self-esteem and career prospects as they pass through the programme each year.

About the Volunteer Role:

Do you want to give back to your community? Gain new skills and experiences? Meet people and support those with mental health issues?

This volunteer role is an important part in helping to support people in South London coping with mental illness to re-establish themselves in the community, gain confidence and increased self-esteem and achieve accredited qualifications through activities associated with Market Gardening.

The basic role requirement is to have an interest in volunteering with people who have mental health issues. You will need to be able to support and empathise with people who have mental health and physical disabilities in their recovery and development.

This role will be subject to an Enhanced DBS check, as you will be directly involved in working with vulnerable adults.

Role Description

Working with and supporting our co-workers who are people living with significant illness, with support from staff and volunteers
This role is primarily to assist session leaders and to enable co-workers to complete the tasks they have chosen in order to reach their therapeutic goals, working alongside them in their Market Gardening and horticulture based activities
Help to set up sessions and participate in giving feedback when sessions end
Help implement the relevant Health and Safety procedures with the supervision, guidance and support of the session leaders
To be an active part of the team, working with staff to support new co-workers in their first sessions, welcoming them into the project, helping them meet other people and orientating them to the site.
Openly talking with the co-workers about their health and progress
Assist session leader with tuition of accredited courses
Assist session leader in reviewing the mental health, wellness and achievements of the co-workers
There may be occasional opportunities to work with the groups in other locations away from the main site
Welcoming visitors to the site, assisting with community work days, fairs, workshops and other special events on and off site
You will be invited to attend group supervision sessions, one-to-one’s and joint co-worker and volunteer meetings

We are looking for people with the following abilities:
Great communication skills. You will need to be the sort of person who wants to communicate and enjoys meeting people and has an understanding that it takes time to get to know someone
You will be able to talk openly with co-workers about their health and progress
Demonstrate a high level of sensitivity and an awareness to the individual needs of the co-workers
Be patient in the delivery of activities, always having the time to listen to and support individuals during the session
Be non-judgemental, open and accepting
You will have a cheerful and enthusiastic approach to helping co-workers with their activities
It is desirable that you will have knowledge of health issues, mental health and physical disabilities in particular
Wiliness and ability to work to the agreed session plan
Some gardening knowledge is desirable
Ability to work as part of a team is a key aspect of the role
Be reliable with good punctuality and attendance
Be willing to listen and learn from your experiences

Volunteer Gains
Experience of working in a community organisation
Experience of working with and meeting new people
Experience working in a mental health setting
Experience of Market Gardening
Support and training will be given
Leadership and motivation skills
Skills development in social and therapeutic horticulture
News and updates about activities within the sector


We offer short and long term volunteer placements and ask for a commitment of one session a week (3 hours).

Sessions are currently held on Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday (am & pm)

You will need to be available each week on one of the sessions below:

Tuesday: 9:45 – 12:30 or 12:30 – 15:30

Wednesday: 9:45 – 12:30 or 12:30 – 15:30

Thursday: 9:45 – 12:30 or 12:30 – 15:30

The De Frene Market Garden site, up track between houses 35 and 37 De Frene road, Sydenham, London, SE26 4AB

Is this role for you?! Complete our online Application and Equality & Diversity Monitoring form.

Or contact us if you have any questions:
Tel: 020 8291 1650  or email

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