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Volunteering today at INTACT

Good afternoon and welcome to the latest experiences within the voluntary sector for young Alex Ashworth.

Today was INTACT day. I attend fortnight gardening sessions at INTACT, which is based at Ingol near Preston. If you remember my last post regarding INTACT I got soaked to the bone with rain and planted a series of white onions. This time the weather was on our side but there was, however, another setback we were yet to encounter.

I arrived at INTACT this morning at 9.30am and as I was about to put my gardening suit of armor on I noticed Barry ( my trainer ) caught me and informed me they have had a break in. I put the remainder of my gardening gear on, signed in at reception and made my way to the gardening area at the back of the building.

Barry highlighted how much damage the vandals had caused by showing me the greenhouse and the tap area of which was badly vandalised. This meant that we didn't proceed to gardening related duties till about 10.30am.

The greenhouse re-enforcement which was made of bamboo reeds and disused pop bottles was broken apart so I helped Barry to restore the damage made. This took us roughly an hour or so, during which a former volunteer appeared and, like us, was disappointed in the work of the vandals. He cheered Barry up though by giving him a journal in which he could record his recent or past gardening activities.

By 10.30am we'd concluded the greenhouse repair work and we were much in need of a brew. We had a brief coffee break and then Barry had a go at getting the tap back in shape. Barry was concerned at this juncture as we'd done minimal if any gardening work. That was, however about to change.

In the greenhouse were a series of planting trays. Following the guidelines from kitchen staff, Barry had a list of vegetables of which we could plant. There were five trays in total, four of which I would work on and Barry did the fifth.

In carrying out this task each tray needed at least five rows to be made, then an insertion of 8-10 seeds. The rows would then be closed up, secured tightly by hand and labelled with the name, date and year.

The teaching session was excellent, practical and easily understood. Barry did the carrots then I worked on leeks, beetroot and spring onion. Barry concentrated on the radishes. A final sealing was complete which meant a sprinkle of water. I was taught that they sprout quickly but their growth takes much longer.

Time nearly had the better of us. We just had one small task to complete, a portion of weeding.

I helped Barry take the trays to his car and the bamboo reeds. It was slightly awkward fitting them in his boot but with some minor adjustments we did it.

Another successful morning volunteering at INTACT. I'll be back there in a couple of weeks which will take us up to April 26th.

This is Alex Ashworth signing off for the latest update in my volunteering pursuits.

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