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“When you see the rewards, it makes it all worth it.”

Sandra has lived on our Strawberry Vale estate in London for 15 years. In 2010 she joined the estate’s management committee to help manage community facilities on the estate.

"I retired after 26 years of being a college lecturer working with children with learning difficulties and had lots of time on my hands," says Sandra.

"I have always tried to get involved and, when I was elected to the committee, I had ideas for activities we could offer on our estate."

Peabody volunteering

Through our volunteer training programme, she went on courses to improve her skills in project development and fundraising.

She also attended a course on setting up a community garden project, which inspired her to create a wonderful mini garden with raised beds near the community centre on her estate.

Along with fellow committee members, she grows vegetables which she gives to older residents on the estate, and she’s created beautiful hanging baskets and window boxes to brighten the community centre.

"This summer we want to open a community café and use the vegetables we’ve grown to make healthy wraps and sandwiches that we can sell during the day," she says.

Find out more about volunteering with Peabody

From little seeds...

She now offers weekly gardening sessions to young children from the local community who join in with planting, watering and weeding.

Sandra has also introduced sewing and crocheting to the estate’s knitting group, who created a beautiful patchwork collage for the 2012 Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

The committee also works with local organisations to provide activities in the community centre such as lunch clubs, bingo, homework clubs and a youth club.

Sandra’s efforts were formally recognised at our 2012 Volunteer Awards Ceremony when she won the "Outstanding Contribution" award.

"It is a very big time commitment, but I still think there is more we can do to make sure everyone living on the estate can use the centre," says Sandra.

“When you see the rewards, it makes it all worth it."

Volunteering with Peabody

View our current volunteering vacancies or visit our volunteering page.