Alan first became an environmental volunteer over thirty years ago. He is currently a member of the Glasgow midweek group run by The Conservation Volunteers (TCV). His story stretches back to 1984.
“I started volunteering way back, quite a long time ago with BTCV as it was called in the past. I saw a small advert in the library – this was back in 1984! I thought I’d give them a call and I started doing a wee bit of volunteering in the summer that year, and did that for about 18 months. Eventually I moved on to a few other things, but I’ve still been doing a wee bit on and off over the years with BTCV/TCV. I had their contact details to get back in touch and I’ve found it very therapeutic.
There are various benefits. You’ve got the health benefit of being out in the open and fresh air. There are the benefits of doing physical graft – you feel good at the end of the day. There’s the social side of it as well, getting to know people and you get a buzz from that – getting to know people gradually when coming out on a regular basis. And you get a wee bit of knowledge about things, and learning different skills as well – it’s very good. And you appreciate your environment a bit more.
Over the years I’ve been involved in quite a wide range of things from drystane dyking to planting trees and various types of plants. We were down in Yoker recently planting apple trees, which was good.
Another good thing is the structure it gives you for your week. You get up in the morning and go out and you’ve got a routine to your day which is quite important. I like the physical side of things. Recently we were making a path taking wheelbarrows back and forwards. You’re doing quite a physical day but I like the feel of that – at the end of the day you feel as if you’ve had a workout just like being in a gym, only you’re out in the open so you’re getting more benefits. I was using the big machine ( ) to flatten the path surface so you’re learning how to use different tools, so that’s good as well. And we’re having a wee laugh at the same time. So you’ve got the social activity and over lunch you can get to know people a wee bit.
I’ve learned to appreciate the environment. One thing I don’t like to see when you’re out sometimes at places there are people who just drop rubbish and litter. People with a wee bit more trouble could make the environment much nicer looking. I’ve been involved in litter picking but sometimes you feel someone’s coming behind you putting it all back down again!
If someone’s interested in being outdoors, doing something worthwhile and a bit physical at times – I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it. I’m usually quite enthusiastic speaking to people about what I’m doing when they ask. So, I would certainly recommend it, as a benefit mentally and physically
Mentally, you’ve got structure to your day. You’re socialising as well as learning skills – I think that’s important. It’s had positive benefits for me. I like the people as well – they’re all friendly including Lauren the leader and the volunteers. It’s a positive experience that I would recommend. It gives you motivation and you’re learning things. Basically, I’m glad I came out volunteering again and I’m looking forward to carrying on!”
The TCV Glasgow volunteers group is organised by Lauren Lochrie, Senior Project Officer: firstname.lastname@example.org or 0141 552 5294.
Find out more on the TCV Scotland website @ https://www.tcv.org.uk/scotland