Volunteer Stories – Reflections of a New Recruit
We love this story from one of our volunteers who joined us last year over at our Community Garden in Ravenscraig. She has asked to stay anonymous in this blog.
A bit about our volunteer
A women in her sixties joined the volunteer team at the community garden during 2021. She found out about the garden and this volunteering opportunity through another local resident. They also volunteer in the garden on a regular basis. She had recently moved into a rented flat nearby and was missing having her own garden. Previously, she had been involved in setting up a community food growing project whilst living in Edinburgh. So, she was keen to get involved in community food growing again.
She has followed a plant-based diet for many years due to the health and environmental benefits. Contributing to the availability of local community grown fruit and vegetables was a key priority for her. This, as well as benefiting personally from accessing fresh fruit and vegetables harvested during the volunteering sessions.
She loves making soups and casseroles with freshly harvested veg as well as fruit crumbles and jams with fruit from the community orchard. Until her recent retirement she was taking in surplus fruit and veg from the garden to the Women’s homeless shelter. There, she was employed as a support worker to make soups and crumbles for the women she worked with. She would provide them with recipe sheets to encourage them to cook healthy food for themselves, (as due to Covid-19 restrictions at the time, cooking activities with residents were suspended).
Since her recent retirement her income has dropped significantly especially as she still has a couple of years before she qualifies for her state pension. Therefore, she was worried about the affordability of maintaining a healthy diet as well as keeping up with other rising costs of living, especially her energy bills.
Life as a volunteer – so far
As a volunteer she has been able to access Climate Literacy training through Greener Kirkcaldy, as well as advice and information about reducing energy use and costs in her home. She has also been referred to the Greener Kirkcaldy Community Pantry by the project manager at the Garden, which is already helping her to keep within her tight budget whilst still maintaining a healthy and varied plant-based diet.
She was also very worried about social isolation after retiring as she lives alone. Our new volunteer had not yet had an opportunity to develop much of a social network in the area. Now, she is really benefiting from the social interaction with other members of the volunteering team in the garden. She is making connections and new friendships. For example, she is meeting up weekly with two other volunteers for informal evening meditation sessions. She finds this very beneficial, and is helping her to de-stress and relax.
If you would like to volunteer with Greener Kirkcaldy, find out how you can get involved!|