Hi everyone, I’m Anita Cannon, and this week I’m hopping on the Highdown blog to tell you all about my experience volunteering at Worthing’s beloved chalk garden.
My volunteering role at Highdown Gardens started with a post social media advertising for Tour Guide Volunteers. I’ve always been good at talking to people and sharing my knowledge, my only issue was remembering facts!
That said, I decided to apply and soon after a very comprehensive training programme started. I learnt a lot from the garden’s knowledgeable staff, but it did take a while for me to feel confident about leading a tour. Support was offered and I never felt pressured to take one until I was ready.
My first tour was a bit nerve racking but it went really well. I have also found that as time has passed, I’m still learning and as I find out more, I can add new details to my future talks. I really want visitors to get their money’s worth and understand the garden’s incredible story!
My volunteer role has grown as I also became a Visitor Assistant helping at special events, such as the Snowdrop and Peony days and children’s Discover Days, which take place during the school holidays.
Lastly, I also trained to work in the garden’s pop-up shop, which features a range of plants for sale which can be found around our historic garden. You don’t need to have expert knowledge on the plants being sold, but you do happen to learn little gems of information as you go along.
Photo: Jane (left) with Anita (right) in the Highdown greenhouse volunteering in the pop up shop
I’ve recently volunteered for a Highdown Gardens history role, but this hasn’t started yet. I’m really looking forward to finding out more about these historic gardens.
There are also opportunities to join the team and volunteer as a gardener, either in the gardens or in the new glasshouse.
Volunteering at Highdown Gardens is such a rewarding role, as everyone is so friendly and welcoming. The staff really appreciate the work of their volunteers and I feel supported at all times. I can do as much (or as little) as I want, and there is never pressure to attend anything if I’m not feeling up to it.
Photo: Anita (left) with Rebecca (right) in the Highdown Visitor Centre volunteering at a Highdown Discover Day
If you feel you can give some time to the gardens please see:
It’s such a unique place and offers so much to the thousands of visitors who enter for free each year.
Thanks for reading, Anita.
- Guided Tours are every Thursday from 2pm to 3pm and are currently priced £5 per person (book online or turn up on the day)
- Pop-up shop is open 12:30pm to 3:30pm on Thursdays and Fridays and during special event days
- Children’s Discover Days are on Wednesdays during school holidays