Our Wonderful Volunteers


Parchment Trust has a number of volunteers who faithfully give up their time to help us. Many of these volunteers quietly go about their work unoticed.  However we would like to profile them and say thank you for all the work they do.

Since Keith and Laurel laid down their roles as trustees we have seen them at the Co-op on a regular basis running a wordworking group at Theaklen Drive. Mr and Mrs Barnes are always happy.  We suspect that its because they have the priviledge of raising such a charming son as Steve.

We recently had the pleasure of working with Zena and Charlotte from Sussex Coast College.

The Co-op's very own "Crafty Couple" are Diane and Kathy.  These guys are worth their weight in sticky backed plastic and have headed up Tuesdays craft sessions for some considerable time.  Recently they have turned their attention to running a Lifeskills course.

Wendy spent close to a year volunteering with us, blessing us with her energetic and enthusiastic personality. Later on the opportunity arose to join our staff team proper, and she has been part of the fabric ever since.

Mike follows in a long line of Co-op art teachers. He has been with us for nearly two years and particularly enjoys water colours.  The guys have said they have enjoyed learning specific skills and techniques that he has taught them.




Just a few words about the couple of weeks I had with the Co-op


My two week stint at Theaklen Drive flew by. The warm welcome I received by all members of staff made me feel super comfortable and at ease to begin with, and the friendliness and gentleness of the service users purely extended this. There wasn't a day that I didn't enjoy - from mucking out pigs to being bombarded into a foam pit to chilling out and playing pool and table tennis, I can safely say I think I enjoyed working with Parchment as much as the guys enjoy attending. The levels of compassion, gentleness and patience that the members of staff showed the service users really astounded me; without fail a member of staff would be there to solve a potential situation, to comfort a distressed individual and to make sure every single person is listened to, content and purely enjoying theirselves and having a fantastic time. The freedom given to the service users in their choices of extensive ranges of activities is brilliant, allowing them to not only enjoy themselves but adopt new skills and continuously improve these.


So, thank you for the opportunity to work with Parchment. I feel truly enriched and delighted to have been part of your team! And I hope to catch up with you all in the future.


Thanks again,




Friary Gardeners

Volunteering at the Friary Gardens


It was early autumn, a year ago, that my wife and I first encountered the Friary Garden (on recommendation of a friend). We received a warm welcome and an invitation to have a ‘good look around’ .the gardeners were obviously proud of their achievements, and rightly so. We explored the thriving nursery and vegetable plots within a beautiful, tranquil walled garden setting. This was a charity run gardening project.


We went to the office. Kelly sat busily at her desk. There was a moment’s break..  This was my wife ‘s opportunity “Kelly, how do we become volunteers, we would love to spend some time up here and help with this project”. My wife felt confident enough (and she knew it would be ok with me) to say that I have a condition called Bi-polar. This turned out not to be an issue and we were given application forms.


These were duly completed, returned, statements checked and we nervously began our probation period. Lots of pruning and cutting back .The raspberry bushes did not deter us! Some weeks later we were told that we were officially accepted as volunteers, and excitedly we agreed a regular one-day commitment.


Winter found us all hands on deck potting up and planting on. With Roger in command nothing goes to waste, last year’s seeds carefully saved, now nestled safely in their seedling trays. As the rain beat down noisily on the poly tunnel;

music playing, banter rising, then the call comes “time for tea, don’t forget to wash your hands”.


Springtime arrives and every one’s efforts begin to show, plants potted on ready for sale or planting out .The vegetable garden begins to thrive under Nigel’s careful eye. Planning for the 20th year anniversary celebration is kept in mind, whilst Jackie also keeps her eyes on the plants for possible choices for sales and shows as the Friary Gardeners build links with several gardening societies. I spot Julian going off with his team with their mowers and strimmers. I make a mental note to ask him more about it.


Summertime finds me part of the team collecting fruit and veg to be sold fresh and some we freeze, to be made up later into jams and chutneys.. Summer comes to an end and the cycle begins again.


We are proud to be volunteers at the Friary Gardens and have enjoyed our first year sharing the garden, the work and the fruits of our labours in the company of the trainees, professionals and other volunteers.  We have learnt many things about plants and I have been reminded of the importance of human interaction.


Two happy volunteers


1st October 2015