Danielle Duttson, a former teacher and now gardener, from Ramsgate, has been a Volunteer Kitchen Gardener at Pilgrims Hospice Thanet since January 2022.
She is helping the hospice team to grow vegetables, fruits and herbs that will be enjoyed year-round by patients, staff, volunteers and visitors.
Danielle is using previously-installed raised beds to create a kitchen garden that will provide the hospice with fresh, seasonal produce throughout the year. Her sons – Wilbur (8) and Hugo (6) – sometimes join her to help out.
She said: “Ideally, it will be a space that everyone can enjoy. Hopefully, patients who are well enough will be able to potter and pick their own peas, salads, strawberries and much more. It’s early days, but by July the garden will be in full swing.”
Danielle’s volunteering is appreciated very much by the whole Pilgrims team.
Drew Fowler, Chef at the Thanet hospice, said: “Dannie is fantastic and an amazing asset to us; she plants, tends and nurtures all manner of plants and herbs for us to utilise in the kitchen.
“We struggled to maintain the garden ourselves due to staff levels, and would like to thank Dannie for her time and dedication to help towards us producing healthy and nutritious meals for our patients, staff and visitors. It’s so nice for us to be able to tell our patients that some of the food on their plates has been grown right outside, in our hospice gardens. As a team, we thrive off the feedback we receive; it inspires us to go that extra mile and do even more for the people we care for.”
Danielle is inspired to support her local hospice charity because some of her close family members received end-of-life care, and she wants others to benefit.
She added: “When it can seem like the bleakest time, having a place that feels like home, where nothing is too much trouble and you’re surrounded by nature and compassion, can make a real difference.”
“Wilbur and Hugo love planting seeds and watering the beds. Hopefully, they will grow up without the fear and sadness often associated with hospices.”
Pilgrims is in need of donations for its kitchen garden, particularly:
- Plug plants
If you can help, please contact George Braithwaite, Head Chef at Pilgrims Hospice Thanet:
Telephone: 01843 233 929
Inspired to become a Pilgrims’ volunteer?
Visit pilgrimshospices.org/volunteer and look out for more stories and information throughout Volunteers’ Week!