Although there has been some dreadful weather this week in Cornwall (and I speak for everyone at Volunteer Cornwall when I say our hearts go out to those affected in Coverack) some breaks in the wind and rain further east allowed Cornwall Council staff to get out of their offices and help communities in Wadebridge and St Austell through voluntary action.

On Tuesday 8th July, Cornwall Council staff members from the Public Protection Team were out at Ten Acre Woods near Wadebridge helping with important conservation work. The site is managed by Jane Bailey, who was delighted to have the volunteers assisting her with tackling the Himalayan Balsam which was quickly consuming the site. Jane noted that it is usually just her managing these tasks and to have 9 times as many people meant the job could be done 9 times faster. Although the day was sadly cut short by the impending thunder and lightning, the volunteers and Jane expressed their delight with the day.

On the next day, 4 Cornwall Council members spent the day volunteering at Abbeyfields in St Austell as part of their employer-supported volunteering programme. Abbeyfields is a charity which provides low cost residential home to people over the age of 55. As with many people in Cornwall, gardening used to be a favourite pastime for many of Abbeyfields' residents. Sadly though, the greenhouse at Abbeyfields had become unusable for most of the residents because of their lack of maneuverability through the small space within the greenhouse. The volunteers, alongside Abbeyfields' Community Engagement Officer, Vicki Gillow, worked on clearing out and freshening up the old greenhouse to make the space nicer and easier for the residence to use. This work was aided by the use of the Cormac Volunteer Toolkit which was donated to use for the day by Cormac. The volunteers worked tirelessly all morning, pulling out the ivy, wire-brushing the walls, and planting new seeds into the flower pots.

The volunteers also did one or two odd jobs specifically requested by the residents, such as installing a new bird table. In the afternoon, the volunteers got to spend time with the residents, listening to their favourite songs and talking about the importance of music in their lives. The volunteers were fortunate that the only rain fell during lunch and it was an otherwise fine and cool day. Vicki from Abbeyfields said of the day "(they) were all such good sports.  I am very pleased with the headway made to the summerhouse and Marion is pleased with her bird table."

From Volunteer Cornwall's perspective, it is fantastic to see volunteers are not deterred by the threat of bad weather; imagine how little would get done if we only worked when the sun shined!