It is estimated that 12.7 million people volunteer at least once a month in England, and whilst to the world you are just one person, to one person, you really could be the world as Growing Together volunteer, Debbie, has found out.
Debbie has been volunteering with Trust Links for around 6 years since being made redundant from her HR role in London, and helps out at Growing Together Westcliff. But this role is far from your average gardening role.
Growing Together is a therapeutic gardening project for people living with mental health problems and learning disabilities and supports around 200 people every month. On average our Growing Together members report an 18% increase in their wellbeing after spending time within our projects, but the ongoing support we provide is only possible thanks to volunteers like Debbie who not only help our members tend to the garden, but also support them with their wellbeing too.
Debbie recently told us "I have always had an interest in gardening, and an interest in mental health, and this marries the two together perfectly”.
She continued "Growing Together provides a little oasis, a safe space, a place to get your hands in some soil and enjoy the outdoors and I really enjoy nurturing relationships with members”.
Without volunteers, the extent of our work would not be possible, but volunteering can also be great for personal development and wellbeing as Debbie has discovered. She added "I don’t grow a lot of veg at home so I have learnt a lot here. I don’t know what the future holds, but I hope it involves gardening in some way, being outside, and maybe mental health and wellbeing too. It sure beats HR!”
If you are interested in volunteering, or would like to know more about being a member at Growing Together, call 01702 213134 or visit www.trustlinks.orgfor more information.