Meet the Grow Wild Mentors 2016

Grow Wild's Kate Allardyce speaks to a few of the fantastic mentors who have been offering their time, expertise and enthusiasm at projects around the UK... 

In spring 2016 Grow Wild launched our volunteer mentor scheme to help our community and youth projects achieve their goals. We recruited over 50 mentors across the UK and they’ve been busy sharing their knowledge, networking, promoting, running events, tweeting and generally being a friendly voice of encouragement on the ground. Here are some of our mentors on a trip to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, posing for a snap outside the iconic Orangery... 

Mentors were recruited with a wide range of skills and experience, particularly around horticulture, and they had a chance to share their expertise with groups just starting out, as well as gain new skills and experience.

We asked them what they got out of being involved this year. Linda Pegg from London, who supported a youth project led by a young man with autism said: “I found it very rewarding to use my horticulture skills and share them with others. I am very interested in wild flowers and I improved my own knowledge by participating in the Grow Wild mentor programme. I thought it was an inspiring story that a young man who couldn't obtain work experience, was given the opportunity to shine.”

Our mentors gained experience of working with a diverse range of people and groups. Jeremy Turkington (pictured above) from Northern Ireland said: “It provided valuable experience of working with young people and educating them on the value of woodland wild flowers.”

Michelle Osbourn from Taunton helped a new project at the Taunton Association for the Homeless. The organisation works with homeless young people to help them get back on their feet. She helped with the designs for their wild garden space and motivating the group to realise what they could achieve.

Tony Francis from Taunton Association for the Homeless said: “Our mentor has been absolutely fantastic! With her skills, knowledge and practical ability, coupled with a proactive attitude, she has really managed to galvanise the whole project! We now have grand plans and have since had a successful launch day.”

Ceri Bosley from Cardiff spent time with a community project that works with Young Carers to create a new garden in their courtyard. She also introduced Grow Wild to a mental health charity, where they decorated tea cups with Grow Wild images and sowed wild flowers in them for an event highlighting the value of nature for mental wellbeing.  

Matthew Benians from Glasgow enjoyed putting his landscape gardening skills into practice and said: “I enjoyed preparing designs for a wildlife friendly garden for the first time and found working with staff and volunteers to implement the planting proposals very satisfying.”

Mentors were also on hand to help out at events, take fantastic photographs, share inspiring stories online and promote the aims of Grow Wild far and wide. The projects greatly benefited from having the moral support, friendship, guidance and practical support from our volunteer mentors. A big thank you to everyone who has given their valuable time to make Grow Wild a success.  

Grow Wild is recruiting more volunteer mentors in early 2017 and will be delivering training in the spring, so watch this space for further announcements. 

To find out more about the Grow Wild mentor scheme, including how to become a volunteer mentor, contact Kate Allardyce or Catherine Winrow, Grow Wild Engagement Officers. Find their details on the Grow Wild Team page.

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