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Emma Volunteers at Willowdene

13 July 2021

One of the many rewarding elements of working at Aico, is exchanging three of our ‘working days’ for ‘volunteering days’ that can be fulfilled throughout the year. This is a tremendous opportunity to not only give a little back to the community we live and work in, but also allows us to see all of the great things that go on, in and around the county.

My first volunteering day for 2021 was to visit Willowdene Farm. Willowdene is a rehabilitation and training facility that offers life transforming opportunities to people whose lives may be following a destructive path. The team at Willowdene are so passionate about what they do, and the results speaks volumes on how this approach to change can literally transform a person’s life forever.

I had the pleasure of speaking to a former resident who explained how the programme has benefitted her and how she hopes to go on and help others; a truly inspirational and courageous lady.

After a tour of the facilities, it gave me a better understanding of how Willowdene is run and made me eager to get to work.

Willowdene Rehabilitation are in the process of restoring the Black Barn that was built on the site in the 1990s. A gorgeous wooden building with light, airy spaces but in need of a face lift. They are hoping to utilise the facility for group sessions and meeting areas to all those in need of support.

I joined in with the restoration by sanding down the walls in the new bathroom areas before they could be painted, and the facilities installed. I also joined Adam Burch in painting the ceilings to give the area a bit more life. I wish I could have stayed to do more but I know that my colleagues will carry on with the good work during their upcoming volunteering days. I cannot wait to see it finished and being used to help all of the residents at the farm.

All in all, a fantastic day. I hope that my small contribution will help Willowdene achieve their goal of improving more lives in the future.