This month, Help Yourself Grow was Action Earth’s project of the month! Read the full article below:
Help Yourself Grow by Gail Cochrane, Team Leader
Help Yourself Grow is a training and development programme for people with a learning disability and/or autism. Established in 2016, we are based in Castlemilk an area of Glasgow with high levels of deprivation, although we attract trainees and volunteers from across the City. We have a group of volunteers to help with the garden maintenance and others who provide an invaluable peer support role. We also attract volunteers for other local groups and individuals from the Castlemilk community. Volunteering at the garden gives people a sense of wellbeing as they are physically active whilst enjoying the benefits of working outdoors, being connected to nature and meeting new friends.
Although our programme is “on ice” due to Covid-19, we do have a few people come up to the garden individually in order to continue with maintenance. We are currently starting to look at how we can recommence our sessions with the appropriate safety measures in place, as we are aware that our trainees and volunteers are finding it very difficult in many cases due to social isolation.
We have been fortunate to have benefitted from Volunteering Matters Action Earth grants on a number of occasions. In April 2018, we hosted the Action Earth Launch at our gardens. This was a joint initiative with ourselves, Cassiltoun Housing Woodlands Officer Stuart Whittaker and Action Earth. We worked with Castlemilk Carpenters Workshop to construct bat boxes which were then installed in the local woods. Castlemilk Woods has 3 types of bats and we are so fortunate to have Stuart who holds a licence to handle bats, to take our volunteers on educational walks and carry out surveys. Our funding also allowed us to plant some bat friendly plants in the raised beds. Last year we used our grant to plant a boundary hedge which will help us delineate our growing space (which is currently open to a public thoroughfare) whilst increasing our volunteers in getting this planted.
Our experience of working with Action Earth has been really positive. They have been really helpful in supporting us to apply for funding which has been used for a variety of purposes. The great thing about Action Earth Funding is it doesn’t involve lengthy applications which are hard to find the time to complete.
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