We’re always after a helping hand, so if you’re hesitating, here are a few reasons why you should come and volunteer with us. We have weekly sessions on a Wednesday and often at weekends at various locations.
1 - We need help
We are a tiny team, and we’re so passionate about what we do. But there’s only so much that four people can do. We’d love to have a bigger impact and work on all the grot spots in Wigan, making them luscious little corners for wildlife that help the environment and are beautiful to look at and be around. With our work, the more people we have helping on the ground (quite literally!), the quicker we can make a change.
2 - We're friendly
We love meeting new people, and we’re pretty goofy and friendly. We usually have a cute baby or child or two with us, so join in the fun.
3 - We're local
Our community group is for Wigan borough only, we’re all Wiganers (or adopted Wiganers), so any help or money we receive generally stays local. The sites we work on are all within Wigan Borough and in public spaces. We also try to use local resources and suppliers where we can’t do the work ourselves or we need to purchase something.
4 - Learn gardening
If you volunteer with us, you may learn a little you didn’t know before. We work with volunteers with all levels of experience. Even if you feel like you don’t know much, that’s fine! We can guide you. And if you know a lot, well, that’s very handy too. We focus on gardening with wildlife in mind, which isn’t always the norm, so you may find it interesting even if you’re quite experienced.
We do loads of different kinds of activities, so the work is usually varied. There is a new opportunity and challenge each week.
5 - It's great for mental and physical health
Gardening is fantastic for mental and physical health. Countless studies show this worldwide, and I certainly know how it makes me feel better.
Gardening is exercise and can help keep you fit. But it’s also known to help reduce depression and anxiety. Volunteering itself is also known to be beneficial to your wellbeing.
We work on community spaces, where we can enjoy the gardening work, but then it’s also on public display for others to enjoy. Looking at green spaces alone is known to boost mental health, so our work will have a lasting impact in many ways.
6 - We're helping communities all over Wigan Borough
We work all over the borough. There are few spots we’ve worked in Beech Hill (By Wigan Town), Atherton, and Tyldesley. We also hand out seeds all over the borough. Our growing hub in Mesnes Park is still early days, but we’re growing various plants and flowers to donate to other community gardens and groups. This isn’t just a Wigan town project; we want to help everyone. We gain feedback on projects from the people who use them, how they want the space to be, and what is the most important to them? We include collaboration with the local community wherever possible.
7 - Open to ideas
We’re not rigid; we love hearing new ideas or suggestions. We often get emails with suggestions of places to garden or ideas about how to go about doing something. We’re really into collaboration.
8 - We're independent
We are a not for profit community group. And completely non-political. Various funds support individual projects, but no one controls us, and we make up our own minds.
9 - We're proactive and bold
As a small independent team, we’re quick and agile, and if someone has a good idea, we can act on it and start discovering and exploring options. So we move fast and can get things off the ground quickly.
10 - Help wildlife and the environment
Our work helps the environment, and your support will help too. Every week, we’re setting up wildlife habitats, growing plants for pollinators, educating about gardening for wildlife, using no chemicals, using low carbon methods and more. There are many ways in which our work is beneficial, whereas average gardening can often be bad for the environment without you even realising (intensively grown bedding plants, transportation, peat, pesticides etc).
11 - We're inclusive
We welcome everyone to our sites. Where possible, we find ways to help different abilities and want to have continued positive conversations about how we can include everyone in gardening. We want to remove any barriers, everyone should feel like they can have a go. We also try to be family-friendly, and believe children can enjoy gardening and nature.
12 - We're flexible
Generally, we garden every Wednesday afternoon, usually at Mesnes Park, our growing hub, so you can always volunteer with us there. Sometimes we’re at other sites instead (we always notify in advance). Then a few weekends a month, we’re usually at a site somewhere around the borough, digging, weeding and planting. So if you can’t find a time that suits you yet, keep following our news for updates. We post very regularly on facebook and instagram
Hopefully if you have a free Wednesday or weekend, you can come and join us and see what we’re up to. And if you can’t for any reason, then you can also consider donating. The money we receive helps towards seeds, compost, containers, tools, fuel – and all kinds of vital things that keep our work going.