Shirley’s Wilderness garden banks on help from volunteers

The Wilderness: a special garden in Shirley

A Croydon care home that is surrounded by a notable and historic garden has been enjoying the benefits of some special care and attention from a big corporate team-bonding exercise.

Staff from Standard Chartered Bank picked The Wilderness, a seven-acre historic garden situated within MHA Hall Grange on Shirley Church Road, as the location for their volunteering initiative.

The Wilderness garden was first created by Rev William Wilks, Vicar of Shirley and former secretary of the Royal Horticulture Society. More than 100 years later it has been restored by MHA to its former glory.

Hay-makers: Standard Chartered volunteers made hay while the sun shone

The volunteers helped out by filling the tree watering bags and raking hay into haystacks after the long and dry grass had been cut.

Steve Thompson, a manager for MHA which owns The Wilderness, said: “I was more than happy for Standard Chartered to use The Wilderness.

“As part of the day I suggested team building exercises. By giving the team opportunities to work together in situations to which they are not accustomed, it allows them to be themselves and not be afraid to share their ideas

“The day was mutually beneficial to both the staff from Standard Chartered and The Wilderness.

“Being outdoors and surrounded by greenery is really good for our well-being and at the same time the plants and trees in The Wilderness were given the attention they deserve.

“It was a very successful day and we would definitely be keen to host future opportunities like this.”

Team bonding: the volunteer team from Standard Chartered

Sujithav Sarangi, an executive director at Standard Chartered, said: “We felt very proud to support the MHA with the important charity work it does to care for older people.

“Not only was it fulfilling to see the difference we made to the MHA Wilderness garden, it was also enjoyable spending time volunteering together and team bonding to get the job done.”

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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