James Hart's Story

Author: James Hart
James Hart's Story

James travelled to the USA in 2008, to research the role of volunteers in public gardens, in order to see how best practice could be replicated here in the UK.

The Fellowship

James Hart, is a horticulturalist, who works with the Volunteer Centre in Dorchester helping to support voluntary sector organisations to recruit more volunteers. In 2008, he travelled to the USA on his Churchill Fellowship, to research the role of volunteers in public gardens, in order to see how best practice could be replicated here in the UK. He visited a variety of gardens in six different states, all of which used volunteers to support the work of the full-time staff and to provide extra services for visitors. Volunteers worked alongside professional gardeners maintaining the extensive plant collections, providing guided tours and helping run the education programmes. James, who has over thirty years’ experience working in commercial nurseries and public parks in the UK, said,

“Garden managers told me that the quality of their displays and the programmes offered would be impossible without their volunteers”.

The Results

Since his Fellowship James has run workshops on volunteering, and has lectured at conferences. He is working on a large project with the county council and third sector bodies to increase volunteering across a wide range of community organisations in Dorset, in order to achieve better integration and management.