Making a difference at Auckland Castle
The grounds of one of the region’s most prestigious castles are in the safe hands of a group of Daybreak Coundon clients.
Tasks include weeding, digging, and general maintenance of the extensive gardens. With history stretching back to the 12th Century, Auckland Castle is a much-loved attraction within County Durham.
The 800 acres of parkland surrounding the castle were originally used by the bishops and their entourages for hunting. Today, it is open to the public, who get to enjoy the serene and manicured gardens on offer.Dean W said: “I love doing the jobs given and helping to maintain the place. I would like to cut grass there one day.”
Apart from getting too hot whilst digging, Steven P enjoys his Tuesdays spent at the castle. David G would like to plant daffodils and other flowers during his shift volunteering – “I really like it.”
One client who is taking advantage of the lovely weather is Lee; weeding and digging is “only nice in the sun – it is not nice in the cold. I like talking to the other people there.”
Andrew W, who has his own allotment near home, said: “We dig, tidy and clean all the borders up. I would love to do their flower beds.”
Tuesdays inspire Steven J to work on his own small garden at home, which he does by himself.
The group, who have been volunteering at Auckland Castle for almost a year, have been hard at work this summer, with one of the tougher tasks being to help resurface areas of the bowling green with gravel.
Coundon LSC Ray believes that volunteering has had a positive impact on the clients. He said: “The lads get to do different jobs and meet different people; they get to interact with other members of the community, such as archaeologists and other volunteers.”
Michele Armstrong, Head of Volunteering at the castle, said: “The men absolutely bring added value to our team, as well as enthusiasm and a sense of humour.” She added: “The work they do in the garden is helping to create a wonderful environment for our visitors and the experience they have.”
You can view pictures of all of their hard work in our gallery http://www.daybreakcentres.co.uk/gallery/