“I enjoy being at one with nature, taking care of plants and watching them grow. However, the main thing I love is doing something that helps others” – green-fingered Julia is passionate about EACH’s Help at Home service

A green-fingered charity volunteer says she loves combining her passion for gardening with helping others. Julia Dalton is part of the Help at Home service run by East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH).

Volunteers are matched with a family so they can provide vital practical support with chores like cooking, cleaning, shopping, decorating, dog-walking and DIY. In Julia’s case, she helps a family tend to their garden and spares two or three hours a week.

“I feel very lucky to be helping others, while doing something I genuinely enjoy and am passionate about,” said the 67-year-old, who retired in 2021 but previously worked at Houghton Hall for 15 years.

“When I signed up, I said I was particularly interested in gardening, because that’s my background and what I did in my previous job. I was matched with a family who only wanted a gardener, and didn’t need any help in the house, so it was perfect.

“I go once a week and it’s generally for two or three hours, although sometimes more depending on what I’m doing. It’s great and I love it. For one thing, I like being outside. I’d been a full-time gardener beforehand and it was something I missed.

“However, the main thing I love is doing something that helps others.

“It means they don’t have to worry and I can keep their garden tidy, looking after the flower beds and pruning when necessary. It’s more a case of little things than big projects – some weeding here and there, keeping the path clear and taking things to the tip.”

Julia, who has a son, Harry, 23, lived in California for nine years before moving to Norfolk in 2003 and she currently resides in Norwich. She decided to start volunteering this time last year and completed some initial training with EACH Volunteer Co-ordinator Anne Rayner.

She was then matched with her family and started volunteering in the Spring.

“The irony is that I first came across it by accident, because I was looking on Indeed for part-time jobs,” said Julia.

“That’s where I saw an advert for a part-time gardener at The Nook. I thought ‘oh, that’s interesting’ and got in touch, which is what led to me joining the Help at Home service.

“It’s not something I’d heard of previously but I’m so glad to be part of it now. The first year has gone so quickly and it’s definitely something I plan to continue. I certainly don’t have any plans to stop.

“You get to build a relationship with the family, which is lovely and rewarding. It’s nice to feel you’re helping and making a difference.

“Sometimes it doesn’t always feel like much, but they’re always very appreciative. I’d definitely recommend it to others.”

EACH supports families and cares for children and young people with life-threatening conditions. In addition to The Nook, it has two other hospices – The Treehouse, in Ipswich, and at Milton, near Cambridge.

To read more about Help at Home, click here.

For more information about the service, head to the EACH website, email volunteerservices@each.org.uk or call 01223 800800 (select option four).

Notes to Editors

“EACH has made us all feel part of an extended family and, thanks to staff and fellow families, we’re not alone with problems. We always leave The Treehouse feeling positive, stronger and thankful.”

  • We care for children and young people with life-threatening conditions across Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk, and support their families.
  • We offer families flexibility and control over where they receive their care and support, including where their child dies – at home, in hospital or at one of three hospices at Milton (Cambridge), The Nook (Norfolk) and The Treehouse (Ipswich).
  • Our family-centred approach includes specialist nursing care, symptom management support, short breaks, wellbeing activities, therapies and counselling, all meeting the individual needs of the child, young person and whole family.
  • We are recognised as leaders in our field, with a reputation for excellence and commitment to pioneering development and innovation.
  • We rely on voluntary donations for the majority of our income and this year need to raise £5.8 million from fundraising and £6.5 million in income from our shops. The year before the pandemic we received just 16% of our total income from statutory sources.
  • EACH Royal Patron –Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales.
  • For more information about EACH, including forthcoming events and how you can help raise funds,visit each.org.uk or call our Suffolk fundraisers on 01473 917965.

Keep in touch:


For further information about this release please contact:

Matt Plummer | Media and PR Manager | 07738 328058 | Matt.Plummer@each.org.uk

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