British Gas volunteers rejuvenate Ravenswood homes for residents to enjoy

16 October 2018

A team of ten British Gas volunteers carried out vital improvements to two homes at Ravenswood, Norwood’s collection of homes set in over 120 acres of Berkshire countryside.

The volunteers’ improvements to the Farmhouse and Tova homes included tidying the garden to make it look more attractive and clearing space along the paths to make the garden more accessible for wheelchair users.

Four volunteers built wooden planters from scratch to help brighten up the front of the Farmhouse, improving the appearance and look of the environment as you enter Ravenswood.

The British Gas volunteering ‘away day’ was the idea of one of the team members, Clare Bitmead, who volunteers weekly at Ravenswood Riding for the Disabled Stables. After finishing, the team headed over to the Stables where Clare showed the rest of the team around the wonderful environment. 

Chantel Baigent, Manager of Farmhouse and Tova, said: “We want to thank the volunteers hugely for all they have done. The people living in Tova aren’t able to go out often so it is so important for them to have a safe and attractive outside space. Staff are so busy supporting people that they don’t get the time to maintain the garden. The volunteers did a great job of clearing the paths and making space for our wheelchair users to move around.

“The pots at the Farmhouse look very attractive and help to make the environment a nicer place to live. We really do appreciate all the support we get from our volunteers. It makes such a difference to the lives of the people we support.”

Julia Hall, Head of Adult Services at Ravenswood, said: “With the dedication and enthusiasm of our volunteers, we are able to rejuvenate areas of Ravenswood and create brighter spaces for people to enjoy, but equally important is that people living at Ravenswood enjoy the opportunity to welcome new people into their home.”

Clare Bitmead said: “We had a great time volunteering at Norwood; helping with gardening and ground maintenance and repairs. Not only was it an excellent team-bonding exercise, but it was also really insightful learning about the fantastic work Norwood does, which transforms the lives of thousands of people. We even got to meet a few residents!”

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About Norwood

Norwood is the largest Jewish charity in the UK supporting vulnerable children and their families, children with special educational needs and people with learning disabilities and autism.

Founded in 1795, Norwood is one of the UK’s oldest charities and the only Jewish charity to enjoy the Patronage of Her Majesty The Queen.

It helps children and adults to maximise their potential at home, at school and throughout their lives, through personalised services designed to enable choice.

Each year Norwood needs £35m to keep its services running, £12m of which comes through voluntary donations. Norwood works with 56 local authorities and has over 55 sites across London and the South East.

Norwood currently runs eight charity shops across North and East London thanks to the support of 150 dedicated volunteers.

Norwood Volunteering

Norwood relies on around 1500 volunteers who give their time regularly to support our work. Hundreds more support our events and fundraising activities.

People choose to volunteer for Norwood for so many reasons, but they all have one thing in common: an understanding of how important it is to support our work in their communities.

There are many ways that you can help support Norwood’s work too. Whatever your skills or interests, we are bound to have something you will enjoy doing.

To apply to be a volunteer, then please call our Volunteering team on 020 8420 6926 or email