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Volunteers are good for the environment


Volunteers are good for the environment

Garden Organic says the positive environmental impact of a quarter of a million hours a year of volunteering on projects that promote sustainable growing is being felt in communities across the UK.

Garden Organic’s volunteers are directly helping to improve the future and the quality of the nation’s gardens and green spaces by giving over 25,000 hours of their own time to projects that provide people with growing advice, mentoring and support.

Garden Organic, which has a volunteer network spanning 15 regional areas, relies on volunteers to help it deliver projects on a range of sustainability issues covering everything from home composting and organic gardening techniques to home fruit and veg production.

Because of its volunteers the charity estimates it has been able to reach out to over 45,000 people in the past year, helping it achieve its aims to inspire people to take positive action in their homes and communities to reduce household food waste, grow their own organic food and change their gardening behaviour towards more sustainable techniques. Volunteering England estimates that the economic value of the UK’s volunteers is worth in excess of £40 billion to our economy each year.

Garden Organic’s Jane Griffiths said, “Volunteers play such a valuable role for charities but it’s not just monetary. Volunteers give us a voice in communities, are able to share enthusiasm and knowledge without obligation, and help encourage people to change the way they do things, in the case of our volunteers’, helping change people’s habits for the good of the environment.”

“Put simply, without our volunteers we just couldn’t carry out the work we do or reach the breadth of people we work with. We just want to say thank you.”

Amongst its 1,500 strong volunteer network, Garden Organic counts two of its mentoring schemes, Master Composters and Master Gardeners, as its greatest successes. Volunteers from these projects alone committed over 15,000 hours of volunteering last year, positively impacting the environment by supporting people to reduce food waste sent to landfill, reduce peat use through home composting, eat seasonally through mentoring people to successfully grow food and encourage organic growing techniques for the long term benefit of the gardens and green spaces within towns, cities and villages. The reach of these networks can’t be underestimated with Master Gardeners collecting data from every one of their active volunteers, which showed their work to promote sustainable activities from May 2010 to November 2011 had reached 27,395 people.

As well its UK wide volunteers, Garden Organic has a further 300 volunteers which support its organic visitor site, Ryton Gardens, its vegetable conservation project, the Heritage Seed Library as Seed Guardians, and its Sowing New Seeds project as Seed Stewards.

To find out more about Garden Organic’s Master Composter and Master Gardener volunteers visit http://www.homecomposting.org.uk or http://www.mastergardeners.org.uk

If you are interested in the volunteering opportunities available at Garden Organic then please call 024 76303517 or email enquiry@gardenorganic.org.uk

Click here to read more Garden Organic news stories

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