“Its given me a new lease of life” – CJ connects with her community and the outdoors through volunteering

As part of our ‘connections’ theme we are partnering with Carr Gomm, a leading social care and community development charity, for a special three part series of guest posts. Their Team Carr Gomm campaign aims to tackle the serious issue of loneliness and isolation in Scotland. These stories from participants in Carr Gomm’s community gardens show how feeling connected and included can really change lives. This week, we are delighted to share CJ’s inspiring journey with Craigmillar Community Grows.

Craigmillar Community Grows offers local people the chance to come together, learn new skills and enjoy spending time outdoors.

Here CJ tells us how the project has not only given her a hobby but a whole new outlook on life:

“Before I was introduced to Karin, who was helping the main volunteer leading the garden, I found it really hard to socialise and get to know new people.

“Karin, a community support worker, was instrumental in helping me come out of my shell. She introduced me to a couple of people from the Men in Sheds project and we seemed to get on rather well.

“After spending time getting to know them, we decided to work on building an alpine garden together. This led to many more projects that involved more people.

“A year on from this and I am now a volunteer gardener at the Thistle Foundation’s garden. Now that the main volunteer has moved on, I’ve reorganised and developed the garden, something I am very proud of.

“I also take responsibility for any new volunteers and help them get involved with different growing and environmental activities, including building bug hotels and making dens for the children who come to the garden.

“Being able to work in the garden has allowed me to learn new skills and has really built my confidence.

“I’m so grateful to Karin for all her support. She helps me think of new ideas for the garden, which I can then share with others. I love to see people enjoying being outside in the garden as much as I do.

“Without this project, I don’t know where I’d be. It’s given me a new lease of life and allowed me to develop an interest into a hobby and passion.”

Craigmillar Community Grows is funded by Carr Gomm’s community development programme.

Thank you to CJ and Carr Gomm! Be sure to visit our blog next Monday for the next story in the series. In the meantime, you can find out more about supporting the Team Carr Gomm campaign here.

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