Volunteering is a great way to give something back to your local community, but the benefits can be even bigger for you – the volunteer. As well as helping to improve your health and wellbeing, volunteering can sometimes lead on to paid work and a whole new career, as one tenant from Golden Grove has found out.
Sarah is well known around Golden Grove and Northam as she’s always out and about helping to keep the outside spaces clean and tidy. Local residents often spot her with her gardening gloves on, busy tending to the green areas around the estates. She regularly gives up her own time to cut back shrubs, clear litter from flower beds, sweep up leaves on footpaths and in car parks, and generally care for the outdoor communal areas in her neighbourhood. Sarah also volunteers with the Plants for People community gardening project at nearby Holyrood where she helps to care for the community gardens and allotment on the estate.
Rebecca Davies, who is our Decent Neighbourhoods Project Officer, said: “Sarah seems to really enjoy helping to maintain her estate and she has a hugely positive impact on the area. Staff and residents are always impressed with all her hard work and really appreciate her efforts.”
While her green fingers are helping to keep local neighbourhoods looking great for the benefit of everyone who lives, works and visits there, Sarah herself is enjoying many personal benefits of volunteering. She says that giving up her time to benefit the community keeps her fit and active, enables her to meet new people and connect with her neighbours, and that gardening can really help to reduce stress while improving self-confidence and mental wellbeing.
Another benefit of volunteering is the difference it can make to your CV. The skills and experiences Sarah has gained from her involvement with the Plants for People community gardening project has led to an offer of paid work from Mayfield Nurseries, just showing how voluntary work really can change your life!
If you would like to discover the benefits of volunteering, Southampton Voluntary Services has lots of different voluntary roles available locally. Alternatively, contact our Tenant Engagement Team for details of how you can get involved to help influence and improve the Housing Service.
For more details of the Plants for People community gardening projects in Shirley, Sholing, Thornhill, Weston, Millbrook or Holyrood please contact Duncan Reade, Community Engagement Horticulture worker from Mayfield Nurseries.