Last week, on the International Day of Charity, the Seasalt product marketing and PR team packed up their tools and headed to the Mermaid Centre, Truro, as part of the Seasalt Volunteering Initiative.

Since May 2018, the initiative has offered employees the chance to spend a day volunteering for a local charity close to their heart. In 2019 it also will be rolled out to Seasalt shop teams. Seasalt has previously supported The Mermaid Centre, having created a best-selling fundraising bag for the centre earlier in the year (we raised £3,350), so it seemed a natural fit for us. The Mermaid Centre is located at the Royal Cornwall Hospital, Truro, and is home to the Cornwall Breast Screening Programme (NHS BSP) and the Oncoplastic Breast Unit.

The first thing to do when we arrived was to clear any weeds or tiny pieces of rubbish hidden in the soil. As we started, one of the nurses popped out to say hello. It turned out that she had a bit of gardening experience – perfect! After some guidance from her about which plants to keep, and what we could get rid of, we got to work tidying up the garden.

One of the main aims of our day was to paint a mural on one of the walls of the courtyard. Seasalt artist, Jodie Matthews, had previously created the stunning mermaid design for our fundraising canvas shoppers. Kitty Hillier, a talented artist on our team, carefully painted Jodie’s design onto the concrete wall using a sea green colour, selected from the Mediterranean palette recommended by the Mermaid Centre. The wall mural was embellished with seaweed, starfish and shells, and once Kitty had created an outline for all the shapes, other members of the team got to work filling in with green paint.

Next, we got to work on the benches. They needed a good sand down in preparation, and we had to consider the colours we had available. In the end we opted for stripes (naturally) in Mediterranean colours, with pops of sunshine yellow. These really brightened up the whole garden.

Once the garden had been cleared of weeds and brambles, and we had cut lots of the old, dead greenery from the existing plants, we set to work potting up the new plants that were kindly provided by Homebase. These new flowers and grasses made a huge difference in giving the garden a new lease of life.

Near the end of the day, we decided to brighten up the plinth that holds the mermaid water fountain. We opted for a pale, coastal blue around the top, merging into a stronger, royal blue around the bottom. The seaweed design from the mural was then painted over the top to continue the underwater theme of the garden, and each of us painted a large pebble with an underwater motif, which we placed around the plinth.

We had a little re-arrange of the benches and pots, and once all this was done, stood back and admired the beautiful garden.

Karen Murrish from the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Charity, who co-ordinated the visit with us, said,

“Everyone was quite simply bowled over by what the Seasalt team were able to achieve in just one day. We are so grateful to them for choosing The Mermaid Centre garden project. The mermaid mural, brightly painted benches, new plants and general tidy up of the garden have made the space so much more welcoming to our patients and our families, we just know that they will find so much comfort in using this space while they are visiting the centre. On behalf of all of our patients, staff and volunteers thank you for your support and hard work, you are absolute stars!”

We are so pleased to hear that our makeover will go some way to helping the staff and patients at the Mermaid Centre enjoy the sun in peace and serenity.

Since May 2018, Seasalt employees have completed over 250 hours of volunteering with local charities across Cornwall. There are a lot more volunteering projects in the pipeline, so keep an eye on the blog for more!