Volunteers’ Week 2022: How GreenCare has been an ‘oasis’ for one of our gardeners
As part of Volunteers’ Week 2022, Claire Stone, one of our glorious GreenCare gardeners, shares her experience of volunteering with our allotment project.
Keen gardener Claire Stone has been volunteering with Suffolk Mind’s GreenCare service for three years, offering support to service users looking to find their green thumb.
The service runs three allotments across Suffolk, using gardening as a means to improve the mental health and wellbeing of its users.
Claire, who volunteers at the Ipswich allotment, said she has never looked back since her first session in July 2019.
She said: “I remember seeing a feature on Gardeners’ World about how gardening can boost mental health, and I thought it’s something I’d like to get involved in.
“I went to my first session and found it to be an oasis. I love being out in nature as it helps clear my mind – but having the ability to help other people is amazing.
“Over the years I have got to see people’s confidence grow. We have people who really look forward to coming down and have made genuine friends here.
“The gardeners talk to one another about their lives and help each other through their challenges. It is lovely to see.”
Claire’s tasks this year included helping the gardeners build a new herb bed, with the group now enjoying cups of mint tea using the herbs they have grown.
Later plans include planting pumpkins and squashes.
Suffolk Mind is looking for more volunteers like Claire to help support people in improving their mental health.
Claire added: “The great thing about volunteering is that you help other people, as well as helping yourself.
“I really look forward to every session. It is great to see everyone and it is just so rewarding – I would definitely recommend it.”
If you’d like to join us as a volunteer, take a look at a list of our current opportunities here.
To find out more about our GreenCare service, please click here.