Volunteer with Us

What is volunteering all about?

  • Gardening and growing plants and vegetables
  • Learning new skills – at your own pace
  • Keeping fit
  • Making friends
  • Pulling together as part of a team
  • Being able to take home fresh, healthy veg to eat
  • Gaining work experience and/ or confidence and self-esteem
  • Feeling happy and well

At the Peoples Community Garden we are open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, from 9.30am until 4pm, throughout the year. You can come for the whole day, or just a few hours; there is a job to suit every ability or level of fitness – from light weeding to muck-shovelling, as well as everyday maintenance and construction tasks. There is a lot you can learn about plants, gardening and specialist tasks such as pruning and potting on, working alongside members of staff or experienced volunteer.

For your first visit, it’s best to make an appointment so we can show you round the project and answer any questions you may have. Please contact Susannah or Cynthia.

When you’ve found your feet, you may like to consider joining our Special Branch, a team of dedicated volunteers, who help manage and run the site and sit on our committee. We need more regular, reliable volunteers, so please join us if you would like to build up experience of managing a garden site. The Special Branch runs their market enterprise on Tuesdays, and those who become dedicated members of the volunteering team can join them on that day.

ActivGarden Placements

If you would like to get involved but need a level of mentoring or support, we have opportunities for you to join us at ActivGardens. You can do so either by self-funding or through personal budgets/ direct payments.

If you are interested, speak to your care co-ordinator or whoever helps you with your finances.  If you have physical health problems you should speak to social care services. We recommend you come for at least one day or half day a week for 12 weeks at a time so that you can really gain the benefits. It costs £45 per day or £25 per half day to spend time at ActivGardens, and you are welcome to extend a half day by bringing a packed lunch and spending social time with the team. If you think you might be interested we can arrange for you to come and have a look around first, so you can decide.


Please call us on 01473 345350 or email susannah@activlives.org.uk if you would like to talk about becoming a volunteer or to make a referral.

Gain Work Experience

ActivLives People’s Community Garden offers work placements to people who enjoy gardening and would like to gain experience of working on a busy community site, alongside professional staff and experienced volunteers.

The garden offers a range of horticultural experience, making it an ideal environment to learn the basics of garden maintenance, vegetable growing, and indoor and outdoor plant production, relating to nursery work. We have a heritage orchard to practise pruning methods, and well-stocked borders to learn how to maintain plants and take cuttings.

Our Wildlife Area will enable you to learn what’s involved in maintaining habitats, including ponds and wildflower meadow. You can also get involved in construction tasks, and learn how to use machinery to help with garden upkeep.

We Welcome Schools

The People’s Community Garden is an exciting outdoor learning resource which is available to schools. We have a team of professional staff, with horticultural and teaching qualifications, who can organise and lead school visits on a one-off or regular basis. Visiting the garden is an ideal way to complement your work towards Healthy Schools or Eco-Schools status, and visits can be arranged to enhance curriculum learning in science, arts and humanities.

This year, our schools project is:

  • The Future Garden Project Step into another dimension . . . to grow veg in straw bales or lasagne-style, and learn about high-rise gardens and how you can grow vertically. Take part in weaving a composting basket and building a hot house out of plastic bottles – start saving your bottles: we need 1,500 two-litre bottles. Do you have any unwanted umbrellas we can turn into rain-catchers to water our garden? We will be digging, preparing the ground, and sowing and planting some weird and wonderful crops.

Last year, more than 300 schoolchildren built a garden celebrating London 2012 Olympic Games. They created the five Olympic rings out of natural and recycled materials, and grew crops representing the five continents participating in the Games. We had a geodesic ‘Vegetable Dreaming’ dome, representing Australasia, built a keyhole garden for the Africa ring, planted Asian vegetable boxes, brought in hundreds of green bottles to hang around the Americas ring, and made gold medals with yellow and orange flowers for the European ring.

Please contact Cynthia if you would like to take part in the Future Garden project or book a visit to the garden. She will send out a booking form. School visits are charged at a minimum of £1 per child for groups of 30+ visiting for a maximum of two hours. For smaller groups, or longer visits, charges should be agreed in advance with a member of the administration team.

Patchwork Gardening

Would you like to garden but don’t have space at home? Would you like a piece of land of your own, but don’t have time to keep on top of a full-size allotment plot? If so, we can help you. You can sign up for a patchwork plot at the community garden for just £10 per year. For this, you will be given a key to the main allotment gates, so you can access your plot evening and weekends, when the project is shut, and a toilet key.

When we are open, we can give advice, lend tools and offer a cuppa. You may be a young family with children, an older person who needs a hand, or someone who needs a bit of encouragement to start gardening. In time, you may feel confident enough to put your name down for a half or full-size plot on Maidenhall Allotments. Please contact Susannah if you are interested in taking on a patchwork plot at the community garden.


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ActivLives is a local charity, which relies on grants, trusts, donations, fundraising activities, sponsorship & commissions to enable us to provide & develop our services across Ipswich & Suffolk.