Volunteering helps grow connections in the community
Cathy Roberson recently joined our team of volunteers at our Training Garden at Ravenscraig Walled Garden. She explains how volunteering has helped her make new connections with people in Kirkcaldy.
I’m originally from Edinburgh but moved to Kirkcaldy in late January 2023 as I would be taking early retirement in March. I have no connections to Kirkcaldy and knew no-one here so I thought volunteering would be a good way to fit in and contribute to the community. I chose Greener Kirkcaldy as I have a long term interest in all things environmental and climate-related and I love to garden. (I’m not very good at it but I’m learning).
I’ve now been volunteering in the training garden at Ravenscraig for a couple of months and I’m loving it. The team there are so incredibly welcoming, volunteers and workers alike, I feel like I fitted in right from day one. Tea breaks are fun with all of us sitting down together for a blether. I also enjoyed the volunteer harvest celebration where so many of us got together for a lovely meal, a bit of prize giving, an excellent quiz (my team won!) and a lot of laughter. I’ve made a couple of friends I’m now seeing outside of the garden, a step into Kirkcaldy social life that’s proving most enjoyable!
The social side of things is lovely and for me there’s the added bonus of getting my fingers into the soil, so good for our mental health. I always feel so much better after a couple of hours getting mud under my nails. Growing your own food is a joy I’d love to see so many other people share.
Food really does taste better when you pulled it from the ground yourself. Fresh pressed apple juice is quite simply manna. Us volunteers are allowed to take home some of the produce grown at Ravenscraig. Between that and the little bit I can grow in my own tiny garden, I’ve managed to avoid plastic wrapped veggies from the supermarket pretty much all summer.
This is not my first experience of volunteering. It all started way back in the mid 1980’s when I took myself off to Israel to volunteer on a Kibbutz. The Kibbutz is where I learned to cook, catering for 1,000 people. Nothing like going in at the deep end!
My most recent volunteer experience was with Volunteer Services Overseas (VSO) when I went out to Vanuatu for two years. I am a qualified accountant and my role was to teach accounting skills to local people. This enabled them to set up properly transparent systems that would allow aid to flow. I’m delighted to say that thanks to the hard work, enthusiasm and intelligence of the Vanuatu people it worked out very well.
I hope to expand my work with Greener Kirkcaldy by completing walk leader training and becoming a Walking Volunteer. This town has so many beautiful places to walk, it would be icing on the cake to help others enjoy them. If you are considering volunteering I would heartily recommend Greener Kirkcaldy. The warmth of the welcome, the banter and the opportunity to learn new skills and meet new people is enriching.
Cathy Roberson, Gardening and Growing Volunteer
Find out more about Greener Kirkcaldy’s volunteering opportunities.|