Volunteers’ Week 2019 is here and we are marking the start of it with this inspiring case study of a local volunteer. We will be posting blogs throughout the Volunteers’ Week with special focus to volunteering, so tune in…
Yvonne Galuszka came up with the original idea for Wolverton Community Orchard back in 2003, determined to rescue it from being a disused allotment site which had also become a rubbish tip. She imagined it as a potential site for a community area for all to enjoy, then polled the neighbours for their input, applied for grants and pulled together a small group of friends who wanted to get involved.
Soon the digger moved in and levelled most of the site while removing broken glass and much other rubbish. After clearing the area, work proceeded in setting out the various sections of the site, installing railings, planting hedges and fruit trees and creating a “sensory” garden full of colour and scents.
In addition to the 50+ fruit trees which are now extremely productive, part of the site was retained as allotments and Yvonne liaised with local schools, Milton Keynes College and other organisations to provide children and young people with outdoor experiences. From the outset, the orchard has been designed as wheelchair-friendly and raised beds have been installed over recent years to make gardening accessible to all.
Yvonne’s approach is to encourage volunteers and other helpers with varied interests; not just gardening but musicians, artists and more, many of whom can be seen at our regular community events throughout the year. No decisions are made on new features of functions without the agreement of the majority of volunteers.
Her tireless efforts have transformed the site into a peaceful and productive area which is appreciated by many and she still works tirelessly as committee chair as well as cooking cakes and more for our events.
Yvonne is an inspiration for us all through her energy and ideas.Said another member of Wolverton Community Orchard.