Lou, Community Garden Volunteer
I first came to Organic Arts to do a mindfulness course, to help with my anxiety. I hoped that being outdoors and taking time to connect with and appreciate nature would help me manage my mental health. The course did that and more, but what I didn’t expect was to also feel part of a community: from the warm welcome when I first arrived, to the invite to share in the lunchtime soup prepared and cooked by the garden volunteers, to sitting quietly with others and enjoying the peaceful surroundings of West Town Farm. It felt like a world away from daily life. After the course finished, I missed the people and the place. I’d been learning about gardening and how to grow food (which also helped me feel better!), so I thought it was great that Organic Arts also ran a community garden where anyone could help out. Brilliantly, their bus collects people from Exeter so there are no worries about getting there and back. I’ve started volunteering more often and getting to know other volunteers a bit better. I’m learning that they also feel the charity provides a special place where they can enjoy being productive in the outdoors, away from any challenges at home. I hope it’s the start of my journey to a new, fulfilling life.